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Let-off for the rugby doctor who told lies in 'Bloodgate'

A disciplinary panel will consider today whether to issue a warning to the match-day doctor at the centre of the "Bloodgate" fake rugby injury scandal.

Dr Wendy Chapman, who cut the lip of Harlequins player Tom Williams during a match with Leinster to cover up a bogus blood injury -- and later lied about her role in the event -- was told by the General Medical Council yesterday she could practise medicine again.

The GMC's disciplinary panel ruled Dr Chapman's fitness to practise was not impaired despite her actions, which it said were not in the best interests of her patient.

She was suspended by the GMC last September and could have been struck off at the hearing in Manchester.



ASHAMED

Williams's 'injury' meant a specialist goal kicker could come on to the pitch for Harlequins in the dying minutes of last year's Heineken Cup rugby union quarter-final tie against Leinster, who held on to win 6-5.

Last week, Dr Chapman told the GMC panel she was "ashamed" she gave in to pressure from Williams, who begged her in the changing rooms to conceal that, minutes earlier, he had bitten into a fake-blood capsule.

She said she was then "horrified" that she went on to lie to a European Rugby Cup hearing that the injury was genuine and supported the club's statement of innocence.

The panel accepted medical evidence which showed Dr Chapman was suffering from depression. It noted she was also awaiting the results of an MRI scan to exclude the possibility of breast cancer -- with a strong family history of the disease -- and was involved in a work dispute at her NHS post.

hnews@herald.ie


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