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'Bloodgate' doctor fears for future

The "Bloodgate" rugby matchday doctor has said that she would "deeply like" to return to medicine, but conceded it would be difficult to find work.

Dr Wendy Chapman said her name would forever be associated with her part in the scandal in which she cut the lip of a player to cover up his bogus injury.

Tom Williams's supposed injury meant a specialist goal kicker could come on to the pitch for Harlequins in the dying minutes of last April's Heineken Cup rugby union quarter-final tie against Irish side Leinster, who held on to win 6-5.

Appearing before the General Medical Council, Dr Chapman said that before "Bloodgate" she had been hoping to take a fuller role at the club and was in line to work in some capacity at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

She told a fitness to practise panel that although she had received support since from "various people" at Harlequins it had been "made plain to her" that she would never work for them again. She previously said she was "ashamed" that she gave in to pressure from Williams who wanted to conceal that, minutes earlier, he had bitten into a fake-blood capsule.

She admitted almost all the charges levelled against her by the GMC, which said her conduct on the matchday, and at a later European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary hearing, was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.

The panel sitting in Manchester found all the facts against her proved apart from an allegation that she stated Williams had a loose tooth in order to deceive others that he had sustained an injury on the field of play. The former accident and emergency consultant at Maidstone Hospital gave further evidence as the panel began to consider whether her fitness to practise was impaired because of her misconduct.

Her counsel Mary O'Rourke asked about her future prospects of employment. She replied: "Obviously it is hugely dependent on what the panel decide. It is also going to be hard to get work after this. I do not imagine ever working in sports medicine again, basically the prospects are minimal. Whenever my name comes up there will always be Bloodgate tied to it and now a GMC investigation as well."

Earlier, panel chairman Dr Brian Alderman ruled there was no evidence to say the intentional act of cutting was "pre-meditated or you had any involvement or prior knowledge of the deception". He said: "As a doctor, your overriding care of duty was to the patient irrespective of the pressure you were feeling at the time. You were there to treat his alleged injury, not to cause one."

Dr Chapman is currently suspended from practising medicine pending the outcome of the hearing in which she could be struck off. The hearing continues.


From Belfast Telegraph