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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
GMC drops Climbie doctor charges
Dr Ruby Schwartz
Charges against Dr Ruby Schwartz have been dropped
Serious professional misconduct charges against a doctor involved in the Victoria Climbie case have been dropped.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ruby Schwartz failed to spot evidence that the eight-year-old had been mistreated.

Afterwards Dr Schwartz expressed her relief at the General Medical Council's decision but said the "tragic" case was "impossible to forget."

Victoria died in February 2000 after suffering months of abuse by her great aunt and the woman's boyfriend.

She had 128 marks and scars on her body.

Dr Schwartz diagnosed the marks on the girl's body as scabies - a skin condition - rather than the result of mistreatment.

Victoria, who was malnourished by the time of her death, had been kept bound and gagged in a bath and fed on scraps.

Her great aunt Marie Therese Kouao and Kouao's boyfriend Carl Manning are serving life sentences for her murder.

Haringey social services said they did not consider Victoria to be at risk following the diagnosis that the marks on her body were caused by scabies.

The Medical Defence Union confirmed that charges against Dr Schwartz had been dropped.

Speaking after the hearing, Dr Schwartz said: "The death of Victoria Climbie was a tragedy and I would like once again to extend my sympathies to her family.

"While it is impossible to forget this tragic event, I am relieved that the GMC has dropped the case against me."

Mistakes

In the past Dr Schwartz has admitted she had made a mistake in not talking to Victoria alone about her injuries when she assessed her at London's Central Middlesex Hospital.

The social worker responsible for the care of the murdered girl recently said every child handled by Haringey Social Services at the time was at risk.

Lisa Arthurworrey says staff were instructed to follow procedures that meant social workers were bound to fail in their statutory duties.

She has also claimed social workers did not receive proper working guidelines from management until after Victoria died.

Victoria Climbie
Victoria was the victim of one of Britain's worst child abuse cases

Ms Arthurworrey is appealing against her dismissal and the inclusion of her name on the Protection of Children Act List, which bans her from working with children.

In an interview for BBC Radio 4's Today programme last week, she said she had been used as a scapegoat.

She admitted to many and serious failings in the way she dealt with Victoria's case, but argued that she was let down by her managers and the organisation that employed her.

Ms Arthurworrey described how inexperienced staff were instructed to follow flawed procedures and given little or no supervision.

"We were mainly inexperienced and it was like the blind leading the blind," she said.

"Cases were just plonked on our desks with no discussion beforehand. There were never enough hours in the day to get the work completed and I was just rushing from case to case.

"Nobody seemed to care about the work that we were doing or how we did it."




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