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Doctor who lied about death in Iraq is struck off

A Scots-trained former Army doctor found guilty of misconduct by medical watchdogs over the death of Iraqi detainee Baha Mousa has been struck off the register.

DISHONEST: Dr Derek Keilloh repeatedly said he saw only dried blood at the nose of Baha Mousa, while attempting to save the hotel receptionist who soldiers wrongly believed to be an insurgent.
DISHONEST: Dr Derek Keilloh repeatedly said he saw only dried blood at the nose of Baha Mousa, while attempting to save the hotel receptionist who soldiers wrongly believed to be an insurgent.

Dr Derek Keilloh, 38, who trained at Aberdeen University and has been working as a GP, looked down and blinked slowly as the decision was delivered at the conclusion of a 47-day hearing by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) sitting in Manchester.

He supervised a failed resuscitation attempt to save the life of Mr Mousa, who had been hooded, handcuffed and severely beaten by soldiers after his arrest as a suspected insurgent in Basra in September 2003.

Dr Keilloh, then a captain and regimental medical officer of the 1st Battalion, Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1QLR), claimed later that he saw only dried blood around the nose of Mr Mousa, 26, while giving mouth-to-mouth and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Mr Mousa, an innocent father-of-two who worked as a hotel receptionist, had suffered 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

He was arrested by soldiers who believed, wrongly, that he was an insurgent involved in the murder of four of their colleagues the month before.

The MPTS found Dr Keilloh guilty of misconduct following Mr Mousa's death and announced "with regret" yesterday that the only appropriate sanction was banning him from working as a doctor.

The panel heard that at the time of Mr Mousa's death, Dr Keilloh was aged 28, only eight weeks into the job, inadequately trained and given little supervision or support by the QLR, which was fighting a growing insurgency in the Iraqi city.

The MPTS recognised Dr Keilloh, now a GP at Mayford House Surgery in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, never harmed Mr Mousa and did everything possible to save his life, in a setting that was "highly charged, chaotic, tense and stressful". But they ruled he must have seen the injuries and, especially as a doctor, had a duty to act.

They questioned his honesty and "probity" after he lied to Army investigators about the injuries and, in sticking to his story, giving evidence in subsequent courts martial and a public inquiry.

The MPTS also said Dr Keilloh, knowing of Mr Mousa's injuries and sudden death, did not do enough to protect his patients, the other detainees, from further mistreatment – breaking a "fundamental tenet" of the medical profession.

He told soldiers not to beat other detainees, but the panel ruled he should have blown the whistle to senior officers about what went on. The MPTS decision said it was the repeated dishonesty in claiming not to have seen injuries to Mr Mousa that was wholly unacceptable.

Dr Brian Alderman said: "In all the circumstances, the panel determined that erasure is the only appropriate sanction in this case."

He told Dr Keilloh: "The panel has identified serious breaches of good medical practice and, given the gravity and nature of the extent and context of your dishonesty, it considers that your misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration."

An online petition and the backing of patients and fellow doctors now working with Dr Keilloh failed to save his job, despite supporters describing him in glowing terms.

Dr Keilloh took up his post in Basra in July 2003, as British soldiers tried to fill the vacuum left by the collapse of Saddam Hussein's police state.

Tempers boiled over after Captain David "Dai" Jones was blown up by a roadside bomb while in a military ambulance and three members of the Royal Military Police were killed when gunmen opened fire on their civilian Jeep. The deaths led to a crackdown on insurgents.

Dr Keilloh, a married father of two, has 28 days to appeal against the decision in the High Court to save his career.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Mousa's father, Colonel Daoud Mousa, said: "I wanted the doctor to be banned for life. He did not have humanity in his heart when he was supposed to be caring for my son. He did not do his job properly."

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