Doctor who injured nurse in crash admits: ‘I am not an example to follow’

Harald Geogloman and wife, Ileana. Picture: Dominic Gilbert

Harald Geogloman and wife, Ileana. Picture: Dominic Gilbert - Credit: Archant

A German surgeon working in Norfolk seriously injured a hospital midwife in a head-on car crash after he “forgot” which side of the road he was supposed to be driving on, a medical tribunal heard.

Consultant Harald Geogloman, 55, is thought to have become distracted and inadvertently drove along the right hand side of the road as he was heading for work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn.

The father of four’s Audi collided with an oncoming Nissan Micra being driven by Joy Richardson, who was on her way home from a night shift at the same hospital.

Mrs Richardson, a midwife at the QEH for 35 years, was taken to A&E where she was treated for fractured ribs, four fractured toes, a twisted left knee, bruising from seat belt impact and a mild head injury.

She suffered from 36 hours of vomiting, a week of headaches and was in hospital for three days. She has since taken early retirement.

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This week at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, Geogloman whose wife is also a doctor was battling to save his job after the General Medical Council accused him of misconduct.

In March 2019 he was given 20 months jail suspended for 24 months at Norwich Crown Court after a jury found him guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

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The incident occurred on Sunday, January 15, 2017, whilst Geogloman, originally from the German town Giessen near Frankfurt, was travelling along the A148 in the village of Harpley.

He was the foundation programme director in charge of training 60 junior doctors at the QEH

GMC counsel Emma Gilsenan said: “At 8.16am the doctor was driving to work on the A148 when he became involved in the collision with Joy Richardson who was on her way home from a night shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he also worked. He was driving on the wrong side of the road and an independent witness supported this view.

“The victim told police: ‘I tried to swerve into the right hand lane to avoid him. Two seconds later he swerved into that lane and the collision happened.

“When interviewed by police the doctor said he was driving on the A148 at around 50mph because road conditions were slippery. He said he saw a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction, and her vehicle then appeared in front of him in the carriageway. He did not have time to react and hit the vehicle.”

The tribunal was told that at his trial Geogloman who came to the UK in 2005 and a previous speeding conviction from 2015 was also banned from driving for two years and was told to pay prosecution costs of £2,000. He pleaded not guilty claiming he had been travelling on the wrong side of the road through the village to avoid parked cars.

Giving evidence via Skype Geogloman of Cringleford, near Norwich, told the tribunal: “I accept the verdict of the trial. I have had more than enough time to reflect. I accept the possibility I might have been wrong despite my beliefs.

“It is dreadful thinking that I, having been trained to heal and to go out as an emergency doctor in Germany to treat these sorts of injuries and make things as good as they can possibly be and then being the one who has caused it has been very, very difficult to cope with and I reflect on that fact over and over again.

“I feel absolutely dreadful about the injuries being something she has to live with and will probably have a lifelong impact on her quality of life. I feel quite deep about that. I have never intended to cause harm to anyone in my life even as an accident.

“Being a doctor is an honour and one has to live up to high standards, since as a surgeon people trust you with their lives and limbs. I have not lived up to those standards. My profession may suffer as here is a doctor who has been driving horribly badly and causing serious harm to an innocent person. It is sometimes difficult to live with that feeling that I have not done what I tried to do with my life.

“After trying the best to live up to that and make other people believe this is a great job, I have to live up to what I have done and that is very difficult. I try to point young colleagues in the right way, but I am not an example to follow and this is difficult to bear sometimes.

The hearing continues.

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