A doctor at a leading Irish hospital was about to cut into an elderly patient’s vein to take a blood sample when a nurse shouted: ‘Jesus, what are you doing?’ and snatched a scalpel from his hand.

The nurse at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise has told a medical council enquiry that she doubted that Dr Vincent Osunkwo was a ‘proper doctor’.

The Irish Independent reports that the council’s investigation into Osunkwo heard the nurse describe how she snatched a scalpel from a doctor’s hand, moments before he was about to cut in to an elderly patient’s vein in order to take a blood sample.

The nurse told the enquiry that Osunkwo ‘didn’t have a clue” how to treat patients’.

The unnamed Nurse said that the elderly patient needed to have her blood type checked in case she required a transfusion.

She said in evidence: “I said to Nurse Buckley, I am concerned that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“I looked around and Dr Osunkwo had a scalpel in his hand. She (the patient) was crying he was about to cut in to a vein, I said, ‘Jesus what are you doing?”

“I pulled it out of his hand and put it down, I said why? He mumbled something under his breath and had a blank look on his face.

“I didn’t honestly believe that that was a real doctor that night. He just hadn’t a clue how to treat a patient.”

The inquiry heard that Osunkwo was appointed to the job of senior house officer the Portlaoise hospital after nobody else applied for the post.

A senior consultant told the investigation that Osunkwo lacked ‘basic knowledge that could be expected of any medical student’.

The doctor faces five separate allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct arising out of his treatment of patients in the hospital over the months of March and April 2009.

The allegations claim that he attempted to read an X-ray upside down,

He told a medical team that a patient was ‘fine’ when the patient was in receiving oxygen in intensive care.

He allegedly told a consultant that a scan performed on a patient’s kidney was ‘fine’ when it in fact showed multiple abnormal masses.

Osunkwo has returned to his native Nigeria and failed to turn up for the inquiry which will continue next week.

The enquiry heard that he told the Medical Council’s legal team that the allegations against him ‘border on character assassination’.