Public exposure from complaints and claims can cause doctors to face a trial by media. In 2011, a UK GP was accused of sexually motivated conduct when he examined a patient’s chest – he shares his experience with Sara Dawson
It seemed like a normal surgery day a couple of years ago. As I was signing scripts, my practice manager knocked on my door and brought in a brown envelope marked private and confidential. I opened it and read it – the contents were highly distressing.
The letter contained details of allegations made by a female patient (Mrs B) that, two months previously, I had conducted a sexually motivated consultation. I remember seeing Mrs B in early spring complaining of chest and stomach pain. Initially I offered her a chaperone, as it is practice policy; she declined, so I performed a thorough chest examination and referred her for surgery.
Her complaint was that during the chest examination I squeezed her breast, and behaved sexually while breathing heavily. She thought my front, back and side examination was inappropriate and not what she’d expected. I was devastated to hear about the serious nature of the complaint, as it would have ramifications for me, as a doctor, and as a husband and a father, and as an upstanding member of society. My surgery staff were highly distressed and took it very seriously; I immediately contacted MPS.