Medicine scandal | 

‘Doctor gave me Botox at 16 after diagnosing me with ADHD,’ patient alleges

Allegation made in lawsuit is one of well over 100 facing HSE in wake of South Kerry CAMHS scandal

Dr David Kromer has insisted he had always acted in the best interests of patients

Shane Phelan

The junior doctor at the centre of the child mental health service (CAMHS) scandal gave Botox injections to a girl he diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the former patient has claimed.

The allegation is to form part of a medical negligence lawsuit, one of well over 100 the HSE will face in the fallout from the South Kerry CAMHS scandal.

According to the solicitor representing the now-adult complainant, she alleges Dr David Kromer advised her during her CAMHS appointments to get Botox treatments with him privately after she suffered from, among other side effects, chronic migraines and grinding of her teeth.

This is alleged to have happened in 2016 when the patient was 16.

Keith Rolls, of Coleman Legal, said it would be part of his client’s case that these were side-effects of the excessive prescription of stimulants.

She did not have these issues prior to attending CAMHS.

He said his client alleged she received five or six Botox treatments in salons and Dr Kromer’s home, for which she was charged €300 each time.

Mr Rolls said his client alleged Dr Kromer advised her that if she didn’t attend these sessions, she could potentially break her teeth and suffer irreparable damage.

The solicitor said she alleged Czech-born Dr Kromer told her Irish doctors were extremely unqualified at providing Botox treatment and that delay would certainly compromise her jawline.

It is claimed he told her any other doctor could potentially disfigure her.

The woman is one of around 240 young people who have received apologies from the HSE over the standard of care they received while attending South Kerry CAMHS.

Her file was among 55 “lost to follow-up” cases discovered by the whistleblower who exposed the scandal, locum consultant psychiatrist Dr Ankur Sharma. These were cases where service-users were prescribed combinations of medication which they continued to take, in some cases for years, without having their treatment reviewed.

The woman received an apology from the HSE for inappropriate prescribing, insufficient assessment to ensure appropriate diagnosis, and poor treatment quality due to inadequate monitoring. At the meeting with HSE officials where she was given the apology, she outlined her allegations in relation to the Botox treatment and these were recorded in the official minutes.

Dr Kromer was not at his home yesterday and his mobile phone was switched to voicemail. A woman at his house said earlier this week that he was visiting a sick relative.

He previously admitted in an interview with the Irish Independent to doing facial work privately in his “spare time”.

“If I had more time, I would be doing that more. It was just opportunistic,” he said.

According to the review report, Dr Kromer’s supervisor learned he was running a private treatment service from his home, sometimes seeing people privately up to midnight, and was also working in a private clinic in another county. It is not clear from the report if his supervisor was aware Dr Kromer was providing Botox treatment.

Facebook and Instagram posts seen by the Irish Independent indicate Dr Kromer provided Botox treatment in a number of salons in Co Galway during 2019.

The review report said Dr Kromer’s supervisor and an executive clinical director both became concerned about his practice and extensive clinical work outside the HSE, causing him to appear exhausted.

Dr Kromer was advised to take leave, which he did at the end of 2019. The report said he was known to have been working excessive hours and to be tired, if not exhausted, at work.

During his interview with the Irish Independent , he said he sometimes worked 100-hour weeks, as his contract involved providing adult mental health cover and he also worked overtime when other colleagues were off.

The doctor insisted he had always acted in the best interests of patients.

Dr Kromer admitted he found it “tough to stay focused” when he was on a night shift, but insisted he was always “OK” while working with CAMHS.

The review described the treatment 227 children received from Dr Kromer as “risky” and discovered proof of significant harm to 46 service users.

The report has been sent to the medical council and is also being reviewed by a senior garda to see whether there are grounds to consider any specific criminal investigation.

Gardaí have invited parents and guardians of children who they believe may have suffered harm to contact them.

The force said assessments would be carried out by a specialist team within the Kerry Divisional Protective Services Unit to determine whether the complaint reaches the threshold to commence a criminal investigation.

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