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Trainee surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals struck off after lying in car crash insurance claim

Trainee surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals struck off after lying in car crash insurance claim

Dr Mohammad Abou Salhab was working in the Trauma and Orthopaedics department at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust when, in 2019, he submitted an insurance claim about a crash that happened two years earlier.

Yorkshire Evening Post

He said he was forced to put on the brakes when driving his car in November 2017 to avoid hitting an animal in the road, but this meant that the van behind him crashed into the back of his vehicle.

Dr Salhab sought compensation for the damage as well as for injuries to three other passengers he claimed were in the car at the time.

But it was argued by solicitors for the van driver’s insurance company that Dr Salhab had deliberately caused the collision, and that only one passenger was in the car with him at the time – making his claims “fundamentally dishonest”.

The trainee surgeon subsequently attempted to put an end to his claim, but a hearing at Leeds County Court was later held after a request from the insurance company’s solicitors.

While the judge found that the collision had not been deliberately brought about by Dr Salhab, he conceded that it came as a result of the trainee surgeon’s “erratic and possibly deliberately aggressive driving” – and that Dr Salhab had been guilty of fundamental dishonesty for claiming that there were four passengers in the car at the time of the accident.

At a High Court case in February this year, Dr Salhab admitted that his conduct in relation to the County Court claim had been in contempt of court. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months and was given a fine of £2,500.

In June, Dr Salhab appeared before a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing, during which he explained that he had not properly checked the claims paperwork when he signed it, but admitted that “he was aware that the claim was dishonest”.

In his defence, Dr Salhab explained he had reflected on his actions and had developed a “management plan” to help him transfer the decision-making skills he picked up in his professional life to his personal life.

He blamed issues in his personal life for his mind being “preoccupied”, which was allegedly why “he was not carrying out sufficient checks or being careful about what he signed”. Dr Salhab said he had realised the claim was wrong which was why he wanted to discontinue the County Court claim. The report from the hearing said he “apologised unreservedly for his actions”.

But the report concluded: “The tribunal found that Dr Salhab’s actions were extremely serious and unquestionably amount to serious misconduct, as he himself conceded.”

It added that his “dishonesty lasted for a significant period of time” and that there was “an attempt to conceal the full extent of his dishonesty” which meant that it was “to some extent, covered up”.

It said: “The tribunal concluded that Dr Salhab’s conduct was fundamentally incompatible with continued registration and therefore determined that erasure was the only appropriate and proportionate sanction that would properly mark Dr Salhab’s misconduct.”

It was subsequently directed that Dr Salhab’s name should be removed from the medical register.

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