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Baby P doctor suicidal and 'unfit' to attend disciplinary hearing

PUBLISHED: 10:58 22 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:47 07 September 2010

A DOCTOR accused of failing to spot that Baby Peter had a broken back two days before he died is suicidal and unfit to appear at a disciplinary hearing into her actions. Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, was due to appear before the General Medical Council this morning

A DOCTOR accused of failing to spot that Baby Peter had a broken back two days before he died is suicidal and unfit to appear at a disciplinary hearing into her actions.

Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, was due to appear before the General Medical Council this morning (Monday) but is actually out of the country, the hearing heard.

Al-Zayyat faces charges that she failed to properly examine Baby Peter on August 1, 2007. She also failed to consider the possibility of abuse or report it to her bosses, it is alleged.

A report from a consultant psychiatrist deemed her "unfit to defend herself" or to instruct solicitors, the hearing was told.

Rebecca Poulet, QC for the GMC, read out a letter from her doctor which said: "In my opinion Dr Al-Zayyat has become so seriously ill that she is unfit to defend herself before a public hearing and unfit to instruct her solicitors.

"The pressure on her has been such that her mental health has broken down completely and the possibility of suicide is a very real one."

Mary O'Rourke QC, defending, said that Al-Zayyat's solicitors had spoken to the doctor's husband and that she is no longer in the country.

Dr Al-Zayyat saw Peter Connelly at St Ann's Hospital in Tottenham on August 1 2007.

The locum consultant community paediatrician failed to carry out a full examination of the tot and wrote in her notes that he appeared 'miserable and cranky'.

Baby Peter was found dead in his cot at home two days later with more than 50 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken back.

During an Old Bailey trial into his death, experts who carried out the post mortem examinations revealed the child would have had a broken back by the time he was seen by Al-Zayyat.

Last year his mother, Tracey Connelly, 28, her boyfriend Steven Barker, 33, and his brother Jason Owen, 37, were jailed at the Old Bailey for causing or allowing his death.

The hearing has been adjourned until 11am.

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