A doctor who told a woman he would love to apply gel to her burnt breasts will be back in his surgery in just three months.
Dr Anis Akhtar, 37, made a series of ‘sexually motivated’ comments while treating the injured woman in Accident and Emergency at Barnet Hospital, north London.
The General Medical Council heard the doctor ‘smirked’ before telling the 49-year-old she did not need to wear a bra.
While rubbing her scalded breasts with the gel he asked her ‘what size’ her breasts were.
The Pakistani doctor said there was language ‘misunderstanding’ between him and the patient but the claim was rejected by the GMC.
GMC chair Mary Clark-Glass said: ‘The panel finds that you did say words to the effect alleged and that in doing so you were making a personal comment about the patient’s breasts rather than giving medical advice.
‘The panel regarded it as very significant that this complaint was made by her immediately after the consultation and that she has not wavered in her evidence.
‘The panel was also impressed by the clear and measured evidence of her daughter who witnessed these comments.
‘It prefers their evidence to yours on this issue.’
Mrs Clark-Glass added: ‘In each case it is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that you were sexually motivated.
‘There is no other credible explanation for what you said and did.’
Dr Akhtar was found guilty of serious misconduct but allowed to keep his job.
‘The panel accepts it was an isolated incident. It was not premeditated but spontaneous and your conduct did not progress to physical acts,’ Mrs Clark-Glass added.
‘You apologised to her after the events in question and on subsequent occasions.
‘The panel accepts that you do not pose a significant risk of repeating such behaviour.
‘For these reasons the panel does not feel your misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration.
‘The panel does not consider that your conduct suggests deep-seated personality or attitudinal problems.
‘The panel has heard that you are an excellent doctor performing a valuable service.
‘It has determined that your name be suspended from the medical profession for a period of three months.
‘There are no issues in this case about deficiencies in your clinical skills. Exceptionally it has decided not to direct a review hearing in your case.’
The childminder, who cannot be named, was treated by the doctor after dropping a mug of steaming tea down her top, severely scalded her upper chest and neck.
The woman, a trained first aider, spent 25 minutes under a cold shower before going to hospital with her 13-year-old daughter.
But the doctor started ‘clowning around’ and mimicking throwing a cup of tea over himself and laughing during the consultation on May 1, 2008.
‘I was just saying I don’t know how I managed to do this and then Dr Akhtar started clowning around, mimicking someone throwing a drink over themselves.
‘He was saying ‘is this how you did it?’ and was throwing an imaginary cup of tea over himself.
‘We both obviously felt this was unusual behaviour.’
As the woman stripped off the wet towels covering the injury, Akhtar ‘stared’ at her naked breasts, she told the hearing.
‘He said to me that I shouldn’t wear a bra for a few days and I actually finished his sentence.
‘I said of course, this is where I’m burnt, if I were to wear a bra it would rub where it’s really sore.
‘I felt that part of the conversation was over. He then paused, he looked at my breasts and he said very clearly: ‘but you don’t need to wear a bra anyway’.
‘I was very shocked by that comment and I felt it was inappropriate. It was really not appropriate and should not have been made.’
‘Actually he was smirking or smiling at that time he was saying it. It was grubby, it was unnecessary.’
When asked to apply gel to her burnt breasts he said: ‘I would love to apply it – thanks for giving me the opportunity’.
She said she was ‘alarmed’ by the doctor’s behaviour, adding: ‘The bottom line was that I was a hurt and vulnerable, and in shock. I’d come to a place where I felt it wasn’t my job to keep track of each thing that was being said and done.
‘It wasn’t my job to keep myself safe. I was just concerned about getting home as quickly as possible.’
She told the GMC he had been ‘skipping and hopping’ with glee in the cubicle but the panel rejected this part of the evidence.
The governing body must now decide if Akhtar’s actions amount to serious misconduct and if his fitness to practise is impaired.
It could then restrict his medical licence or remove it altogether.
Lydia Barnfather, for the GMC, said the doctor’s conduct was ‘appalling.’
‘This was a vulnerable patient going to the Accident and Emergency department for help and assistance with her wounds.
‘Instead she endured the appalling conduct towards her that you have found proved, which amount, we submit, to a grotesque breach of trust of the patient and the public.
‘He has not taken any steps to address sexually motivated misconduct as it has been found to be.
‘I invite you to conclude without hesitation that Dr Akhtar’s fitness to practise is impaired.’
Giving evidence the doctor attempted to blame his interpretation of English, despite having learnt the language since the age of 14.
James Counsell, defending Dr Akhtar, claimed he acted in a ‘moment of madness’ that would not be repeated.
‘Dr Akhtar has learnt. He has reflected deeply about these matters. He has learnt from the mistakes and he would not allow himself to be put in such a position again.
‘In looking at this doctor who in all other respects is regarded by all those who came into contact with him professionally as an excellent doctor, you can be satisfied that this was a one-off isolated incident, a moment of madness, which would not be repeated.’
Dr Akhtar, of Barnet, north London, was found guilty of commenting that the patient need not wear a bra, asking about her bra size and saying he would ‘love’ applying the gel. These were all found to be sexually motivated.
He further asked her if he should apply gel to her ‘nipple area’ but this was not found to be sexually motivated.
He was also found guilty of failing to advise her on hand hygiene when applying the gel herself.
But Dr Akhtar was cleared of unnecessarily positioning his body across hers while providing the treatment.