Doctor cleared in assault case fights for job
An Irish doctor faces being struck off the British medical register following an allegation that he had a "sexual encounter" with a suicidal gay patient at his practice in London.
Dr John Leahy, who qualified as a doctor after graduating from NUI Galway in 1992, was found not guilty of sexually assaulting the 28-year-old man at an earlier trial.
He appeared before a hearing of the General Medical Council (GMC) in central London yesterday and could be struck off if it decides that he brought the profession into disrepute.
Dr Leahy, who has been in a relationship with a man for the last eight years, admitted to the disciplinary panel that he had "taken advantage" of the situation.
The patient, identified only as Mr X, was said to be "distraught" after losing his job as an airline steward and had earlier presented to a hospital accident and emergency department in a suicidal state.
"It was just completely wrong on every level. I realise that now and I realised it the moment the incident had happened," Dr Leahy told the hearing. "It was wrong for him, it was wrong for me as a doctor and it was wrong in the interests of the public.''
"I felt hugely ashamed and embarrassed and remorseful for what had happened and felt I had let myself down and everyone down involved with the patient, and it had ramifications for myself and my personal life," he added.
Mr X telephoned the North End Road surgery in West Kensington where Dr Leahy was on emergency duty on May 19, 2006. The doctor arranged for Mr X to come in for an appointment and when he arrived at the clinic he was feeling "very low and was crying".
The hearing was told that during the consultation, Dr Leahy moved his chair closer to face Mr X and that he took hold of his left hand to provide reassurance and to console him.
Mr X then leaned forward and put his head on the doctor's shoulder and it is allegedDr Leahy then put his arm around him to "hug or embrace" him.
Counsel for the GMC, Stephen Brassington, said Dr Leahy knew it was inappropriate but said there was "a sexual energy" between the two men. The case continues.