Thursday 21 September 2017

Doctor accused of sexual assault claims kiss on patient's cheek was platonic

Kevin Keane

A DOCTOR who faces a series of allegations that he sexually assaulted a patient has agreed that he kissed the woman on her cheek.

But Dr Hossam Desoky has told a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry that the kiss was platonic and one a person might give a family member.

In the second day of a hearing into 10 allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance against the consultant anaesthetist, Dr Desoky also told the inquiry that Teri Chamberlain took off her T-shirt as he carried out a chest examination, despite him telling her that this was not necessary.

Dr Desoky faces allegations that he kissed Ms Chamberlain, called her on her phone, invited or allowed her into his on-call residence room, locked the door and sexually assaulted or molested her in this room.

She had already stated she was invited to Dr Desoky's on-call residence room for a treatment to help stop her smoking habit. After following him to the room, she stated he locked the door, grabbed her and pulled her on to the bed while pushing his face on to her chest.

Dr Desoky, who returned to live in his native Egypt in November 2010, denies the allegations against him.

The incidents are alleged to have taken place at South Tipperary General Hospital on July 13, 2010, when Ms Chamberlain was attending overnight for a colonoscopy.

Under cross-examination, Dr Desoky told the inquiry that after she approached him for advice about her smoking, Ms Chamberlain told him he could call her on her mobile phone at any stage.

He said that at around 9pm, after he called her phone, she asked him to examine her chest.

Dr Desoky said while examining the patient's lungs by way of a stethoscope placed on her back, he asked her to remove her dressing gown. He told the inquiry that the patient removed her T-shirt as well.

Inappropriate

As he was leaving to go on his break, Ms Chamberlain asked him if she could discuss her smoking further, the inquiry heard.

He said he told her that he would be in front of the building and they could talk there but that Ms Chamberlain followed him to his on-call residence, where he went to fetch his coat.

Dr Desoky told the hearing that he and his patient sat on his bed and talked about personal issues for about 10 minutes.

"I gave her a kiss on the cheek as we were leaving. It was friendly talk, so I kissed her on the cheek, not like a patient and a doctor," he said.

He denied that he locked the door, that he sexually assaulted Ms Chamberlain, or that he refused to allow her leave.

Dr Anna Maria Rollin, a consultant anaesthetist and the professional standards adviser for the UK's Royal College of Anaesthetists, said she would regard a doctor kissing his patient as being entirely inappropriate.

"Kissing is an intimate act and I would regard that as professional misconduct and it is a level of which could be described as disgraceful and dishonourable," she said.

In her closing submission, Katie Dawson, representing the CEO of the Medical Council, put it to Dr Desoky that his account of events did not make sense.

"If the account given by Ms Chamberlain is correct, that is why he took her phone number, that is why he invited her up to his room, that is why he examined her, because he was interested in pursuing a relationship with her," Ms Dawson said.

Dr Desoky's barrister, Jack Hickey, said that allegations of sexual assault were "easy to make and difficult to defend".

He said it was significant that the DPP decided not to prosecute a case against his client.

Mr Hickey described Ms Chamberlain's evidence as not being credible.

"She is making this case up. She is grossly exaggerating her claim in order to bolster her personal injury case against my client and the HSE."

The fitness-to-practise committee adjourned the case until March 15, when it is due to deliver its ruling.

Irish Independent

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