Christian Doctor in UK Punished for 'Distressing' Patient With Religious Views
A Christian general practitioner in Britain alleged to have told a suicidal patient that "the devil haunts people who do not turn to Jesus" is in hot water with the General Medical Council (GMC) for "crossing the line" during the brief consultation.
Dr. Richard Scott, 51, who resides in Margate, Kent in the U.K. revealed that he has been officially reprimanded for the statements, which he denies making.
"I think the judgment had been made in advance, whatever happened. The GMC was determined that I was to get a warning," the doctor said. "This has effectively been a four-day charade."
The warning reportedly will remain on Scott's record for five years.
"The panel has chosen to believe a patient with massive and multiple problems against a doctor of 28 years' standing, embedded in his local community with hundreds of testimonials from other patients of his," continued Scott, who has worked as a missionary doctor in India and Tanzania.
"Whether it was reiki, acupuncture or even Islam, that particular doctor would not be in our position now. I think they are discriminating against Christians. I am both angry and disappointed in my professional body," he added.
The incident occurred during a 25-minute consultation in which Dr. Scott was found to have "pushed" his religious views on a suicidal 24-year-old man, identified only as Patient A, The Telegraph reported. The man's religion was not disclosed, but the consultation is said to have happened at the Bethesda Medical Center in Margate in Aug. 2010, an "expressly Christian" institution, according to the report.
It was the patient's mother who complained of the religious guidance her son was receiving, which brought the issue to the attention of the GMC.
The GMC's investigations committee said it heard conflicting accounts of what was said during the consultation, with the doctor claiming that he simply made a "gentle offer" to the patient on the subject of faith. Scott said that the patient, however, told him his advice was "a load of bollocks."
However, in an 11-page finding, the GMC committee ruled that Scott had told the patient that if he did not "turn towards Jesus then he would suffer for the rest of his life," and he would not provide him with any medical help.
"The committee considers that you went beyond the limit of such spiritual guidance as would have been appropriate," said committee chairman Dr. Christopher Hanning.
"Your actions caused some distress to Patient A, which was foreseeable. He said that he felt abused. This is plainly inappropriate and not in his best interests. In this way you sought to impose your own beliefs on your patient," Hanning added. "You thereby caused the patient distress through insensitive expression of your religious beliefs."