“Bloodgate” doctor free to practice

Harlequin player leaves field after biting blood capsuleA British doctor who cut a rugby player’s lip so that his team could substitute a better player in a crucial game has been scolded by the General Medical Council, but allowed to continue practicing.

Dr Wendy Chapman, 46, told a disciplinary hearing that she had succumbed to "huge pressure" from a player for one of England’s leading teams, the Harlequins, after he had bitten into a fake blood capsule. Officials immediately suspected that the blood oozing from his mouth was a charade and he pleaded with her to cut his lip.  She made a small nick and the blood flow was stanched with gauze and pressure. A specialist goal-kicker was brought in to win the game.

It later turned out that the Harlequins had used this stunt on at least four previous occasions to enable tactical substitutions. “Bloodgate” became a media sensation and was investigated by the European Rugby Cup. At an ERC hearing, Dr Chapman falsely backed up the player’s claims, along with the team’s physiotherapist and director of rugby – but not under oath. At the later GMC hearing, however, she freely admitted that she had colluded in the deception and subsequently lied about it. However, she pleaded that she was under immense stress at the time and depressed.

Dr Chapman admitted that what she had done was "completely wrong" and she was "deeply, deeply ashamed". The GMC has now cleared her to continue practicing medicine as an accident and emergency doctor. She had been suspended for a year by the GMC. "You do not pose any risk to patients or the public. The panel accepts that there is a public interest in retaining the services of a good doctor," said the chairman of the GMS panel. By the way, the Harlequin specialist kicker missed the goal and his team lost 6-5. ~ Telegraph, Aug 31

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