Doctor Receives Harassment Complaint for Talking About Jesus

A doctor in the United Kingdom was reprimanded by the General Medical Council for talking about Jesus to a patient.

Dr. Richard Scott was placed under an official investigation for talking about his faith with a patient, something he said he has done thousands of times.

He is currently fighting to remove the warning from his flawless record of 28 years. He said he was professional and followed the medical regulator's guidelines when he spoke to his 24-year-old patient, who according to Scott was described as "a needy patient."

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC told The Telegraph, "Doctors should not normally discuss their personal beliefs with patients unless those beliefs are directly relevant to the patient's care. They also must not impose their beliefs on patients, or cause distress by the inappropriate or insensitive expression of religious, political or other beliefs or views."

Scott explained to The Telegraph, "What I do is I ask people and say 'there is something extra I can do and discuss with you, would you like to talk about it?' So I give people an option to talk about something that may be well useful to them should they choose to take it up."

If people choose to talk about faith, he begins by encouraging people to attend his local church. Out of eight patients he would ask, two would attend his church and one patient's life would change, he said.

The patient's mother filed the complaint after her son had told her that the doctor had prescribed Jesus to him when she asked him how the meeting went. According to the adult's mom, Scott tried to "push religion" to her son. She accused him of "harass[ing] a vulnerable patient."

While the 50-year-old doctor had to choose between keeping the warning on his record forever and taking legal action to fight the censure, he decided to go to Christian Medical Fellowship in hopes of a solution.

CMF posted on a blog on Sunday, citing guidelines from GMC Standards and Ethics Committee: "You must not express to your patients your personal beliefs, including political, religious or moral beliefs, in ways that exploit their vulnerability or that are likely to cause them distress."

CMF contends, "So there is no blanket prohibition on expressing personal beliefs, as long as it is done in a way that is sensitive and appropriate.

"The guidance also underlines the principle that doctors must 'make the care of (their) patient (their) first concern' and must treat them 'with respect, whatever their life choices and beliefs.'"

Other guidelines emphasize that taking into account a patient's beliefs is also an important part of medical care.

"Patients' personal beliefs may be fundamental to their sense of well-being and could help them to cope with pain or other negative aspects of illness or treatment."

CMF feels that GMC acted with "inappropriate and disproportionate force and appears to have applied its (very reasonable guidance) in a selective and unbalanced way."