27 August 2010

'Bloodgate' doc condemned

The doctor at the centre of the Harlequins fake blood scandal did not act in the best interests of the rugby player she cut to cover up a bogus injury, a disciplinary panel said.


The doctor at the centre of the Harlequins fake blood scandal did not act in the best interests of the rugby player she cut to cover up a bogus injury, a disciplinary panel said.

Wendy Chapman gave into pressure from Harlequins winger Tom Williams, who wanted to conceal that he had bitten into a fake-blood capsule during last April's European Cup quarter-final tie against Irish side Leinster, who held on to win 6-5.

His so-called injury meant a specialist goal kicker could come on to the pitch in the final stages of the match.

Chapman, who broke down in tears while giving evidence had said that she cut Williams with a stitch cutter in the changing rooms as suspicious Leinster and match officials began to make inquiries about Williams's 'injury'.

Admitted to charges

She had already admitted almost all the charges levelled against her by the General Medical Council, which said her conduct on the matchday, and at a later European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary hearing, was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.

Ruling on the facts of the case, the GMC Fitness to Practise Panel agreed that the former accident and emergency consultant at Maidstone Hospital in Kent had cut Williams's lip in the changing room after he made several heated requests.

Not pre-meditated

However, panel chairman Brian Alderman said there was no evidence to say the intentional act was "pre-meditated or you had any involvement or knowledge of the deception".

He said: "The panel consider that, while Tom Williams was a professional player and part of the team and you were a team doctor, he was in fact your patient at the time of the incident.

"As a doctor, your care of duty was to the patient irrespective of the pressure you were feeling at the time. They (her actions) were not in the best interests of his health.

"You were there to treat his alleged injury, not to cause one."
The panel, sitting in Manchester, found all the charges proved against her except for an allegation that she stated Williams had a loose tooth in order to deceive others that he had sustained an injury on the field of play.

Blood replacement

Williams had come on the pitch at The Stoop as a substitute, but came off himself in the 75th minute with blood apparently gushing out of his mouth, which allowed Nick Evans to return to the field as a blood replacement and attempt to kick a winning goal.

Blood replacements are substitute players temporarily brought on to the pitch while players with blood injuries receive treatment.

The initial ERC disciplinary hearing last July cleared Dr Chapman of conspiring to get Evans back on the pitch. After she was acquitted as a defendant she then effectively gave evidence as a prosecution witness where she backed up the club's initial version of events that the injury was real.

Chapman is currently suspended from practising medicine pending the outcome of the hearing in which she could be struck off. - (Sapa, August 2010)




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