Doctor is barred for year after sex with patient
Published 02/05/2008 | 00:00
An Irish doctor who had a "frenzied, intense and potent sexual encounter" in his consulting room with a suicidal patient was suspended for 12 months yesterday.
Dr John Leahy was arrested after the "emotionally unstable" 28-year-old man walked out of his west London surgery and called the police.
When police first interviewed Dr Leahy, he denied anything sexual had happened and claimed the patient was "out of his mind", the British General Medical Council heard.
But after intimate DNA samples were found on the man's T-shirt, the doctor admitted things became passionate on the examination couch as he tried to comfort the crying patient.
He was cleared by a jury of sexual assault but the GMC panel in London ruled Dr Leahy's fitness to practice is impaired.
Panel chairman Professor Kevin Dalton said Dr Leahy had shown "guilt, shame and remorse" but he was guilty of exploiting a vulnerable patient who had come to him for help.
"Doctors occupy a position of privilege and trust in society and they are expected to act with integrity," he said.
"Your conduct in engaging in sexual activity with a patient in your consulting room, your subsequent inappropriate telephone contact with him, your uninvited visit to his home, as well as your lies to police at interview, seriously undermine the confidence and trust of the public."
Dr Leahy was finally suspended for 12 months yesterday following lengthy deliberations by the GMC panel.
Prof Dalton said it was "in the public interest" and in the doctor's interests to suspend him with immediate effect.
Dr Leahy told the GMC that he deeply regretted taking advantage of his patient.
Leahy, who qualified as a doctor in Galway city in 1992, has been a GP since 1996.
He went to London in 1998 and has worked at the North End Road practice since 2002.