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Doctor faces GMC conduct hearing.

Byline: By Lyndsay Moss

Professor Sir Roy Meadow, the doctor at the centre of a number of high-profile cases against women accused of killing their children, is to face a professional conduct committee.

The General Medical Council said yesterday its preliminary proceedings committee had considered allegations against Prof Meadow.

"The committee determined the allegations, if proved, would raise a question of serious professional misconduct, which could affect his fitness to practise," a statement said.

A hearing is likely to be held late next year and the GMC declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Prof Meadow was an expert witness in the trials of Sally Clark, Trupti Patel and Angela Cannings, last week freed from prison after being cleared of murdering her two baby sons. The paediatrician, knighted in 1998 for services to child health, is viewed as a persuasive speaker in court.

At the trial of Mrs Clark, a solicitor who later won her appeal against a conviction for murdering her two baby sons, Prof Meadow told a jury the chance of two children in such an affluent family dying of cot death was "one in 73 million".

This figure was later criticised by statisticians and the judge at Mrs Clark's appeal.

Solicitor John Batt, part of Mrs Clark's defence team, said there was a question over a number of similar cases involving Prof Meadow.

"This must raise a question mark about other cases in which he claims to have identified mothers murdering their babies."

Prof Meadow has gained a reputation as a "hawkish" paediatrician when confronted with cases of multiple child deaths in one family.

He is known for his 1977 academic paper in which he set down the diagnosis of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP), in which parents are said to fabricate their child's illness, resulting in unnecessary hospital admissions and even death.

His observation that "one sudden infant death is a tragedy, two is suspicious and three is murder, unless proven otherwise", became known as "Meadow's Law".

Prof Meadow's supporters say he is a man of skill and compassion whose work led to the conviction of Beverly Allitt - the nurse suffering from MSBP who murdered four children and harmed nine others.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the decision to quash Mrs Clark's convictions did not hinge on Prof Meadow's statistics - rather on non-disclosure of evidence by a pathologist.

A spokeswoman said Prof Meadow did not use statistics in the Patel and Cannings trials and had been one of a number of expert witnesses.

Asked whether he would be called again, she said: "No professional body has found against Professor Meadow."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 19, 2003
Words:435
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