'Bloodgate' doctor admits lip cutting
A doctor has admitted that she cut the lip of the player at the centre of the “Bloodgate” fabricated rugby injury scandal at his request.
Harlequins winger Tom Williams had earlier bit into a fake-blood capsule to engineer a blood replacement which allowed a substituted specialist kicker back on to the field in the closing minutes of last April's Heineken Cup quarter-final tie against Leinster.
Williams told a medical disciplinary hearing yesterday that he had to twice ask the club's matchday doctor to make the incision in the treatment room as he became “extremely panicked” when match officials questioned whether his injury was genuine.
Dr Wendy Chapman is appearing before the General Medical Council to face allegations that her conduct in connection with the incident was alleged to be likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.
At the start of the two-week hearing, counsel for Dr Chapman admitted she cut the lip with a stitch cutter and she did so because the player wanted to demonstrate a “real injury”.
She also conceded she stated he had a loose tooth — which the player denied — in front of match officials but said her intention was not to deceive others that Williams had sustained an injury.
Dr Chapman, who the panel was told is recovering from a breast cancer operation, admitted the majority of the charges she faced but denied misconduct in re
lation to why she said Williams had a loose tooth.
She did admit that she failed to tell a European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary hearing three months after the incident that she had caused the lip injury.
Opening the case for the GMC, Michael Hayton said the European game which Leinster eventually held on to win 6-5, was “high-profile” and of “enormous importance” in terms of prestige and the economic benefits of 300,000 euro (£245,000) to the tournament winner.
Substitute Williams came on but then left the field with five minutes remaining of the game with blood apparently coming from his mouth so that New Zealander Nick Evans could come back on.
Happily for all parties, said Mr Hayton, Evans missed a late goal kick, but “sadly for all parties of the game of rugby union Tom Williams was not bleeding from his mouth”.
“He had been sent on to the field of play and had bitten into a theatrical blood capsule, of a type used in amateur dramatics, to imitate blood,” he said.
“This was cheating to get the best kicker back on to the field.
“Tom Williams played a part in it. Dean Richards (Harlequins director of rugby) played a part in it. Dr Wendy Chapman did not.”
Richards was given a three-year ban by an ERC appeals panel after Williams changed his evidence.
It emerged during the ERC hearing that Richards had ordered fake blood injuries on four other occasions and orchestrated the “Bloodgate” cover-up.
Williams' initial 12-month ban was reduced to four months following his admission of the capsule use, while the club was fined £258,000.
Dr Chapman, an accident and emergency consultant at Maidstone Hospital in Kent, was cleared of any wrongdoing by the ERC.
She is currently suspended from duty pending the outcome of the GMC hearing.