Belfast Telegraph

Doctor sexually assaulted nurse during Emmerdale row

By Kim Pilling

A doctor who “freaked out” and sexually assaulted a nurse because he did not want to watch Emmerdale had shown a “woeful” lack of insight into his actions, a medical panel has ruled.

Dr Satpal Jabbal — now employed at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry — squeezed her left breast with both hands after she grabbed the TV remote control from him to turn over to the ITV1 soap.

He also stamped on her bag of crisps, threw a hot cup of coffee over her and pushed the television from its stand as he shouted at her: “If I cannot watch the television, then neither can you.”

In a statement written shortly after the altercation, the nurse described how the doctor had “freaked out” when she playfully took the remote away from him in a hospital tea room.

A General Medical Council fitness to practise panel also found the anaesthetist guilty of sexually motivated and inappropriate behaviour towards two other nurses at Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

One nurse was subjected to a campaign of harassment between March 2006 and February 2007, and he grabbed the breast of a third nurse while she tended to a patient under anaesthetic.

Dr Jabbal had denied the allegations.

Panel chairman Professor Julian Whitehouse said: “The panel has found proved that your actions towards three junior members of staff, in a period spanning 10 years, demonstrated a pattern of pre-meditated and predatory behaviour.”

Referring to the Emmerdale incident in October 2001, he added: “You were involved in a violent, confrontational and sexually motivated incident with a colleague.”

The hearing in Manchester was told an investigation was launched by NHS Lanarkshire into the allegations made by the three nurses and Dr Jabbal was eventually dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct in December 2009.

In his defence at the hearing, Dr Jabbal said he had worked in Newry for more than a year and no complaints had been lodged against him and he was held in high regard by his current colleagues.

Evidence was produced that showed he had the full support of the anaesthetic team, including the nurses and midwives within that team.

He said he had learned from his mistakes, wouldn’t repeat his actions and wouldn’t bring the profession into disrepute in future.

However, the panel found his fitness to practise was impaired.

Prof Whitehouse said: “The panel has concluded that you have not remedied your misconduct and it does not have confidence that you will not repeat such actions in the future.”

The panel will return today to consider what sanctions, if any, to impose on Dr Jabbal, which could include striking him off the medical register.

Factfile

Dr Satpal Jabbal has been found guilty by the General Medical Council of:

  • Sexually motivated and inappropriate behaviour towards two other nurses;
  • Pre-meditated and predatory behaviour, escalating in seriousness from goading, to harassment to sexual touching;
  • Involvement in a “violent, confrontational and sexually motivated incident” with a colleague;
  • Being dishonest and misleading when applying for a job;
  • A failure to recognise any wrongdoing, understand the seriousness of his |actions or learn from past behaviour.


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