A HOSPITAL doctor who performed an intimate examination on a teenager without a chaperone has been cleared of misconduct.
Patient A, who was 18 at the time, claimed Dr Sarfaraz Malik pulled down her jeans and knickers and performed the procedure without explaining why after her friend left the room.
She told a tribunal she was so scared that she just stared at the treatment room wall while Dr Malik prodded her, and she later broke down in tears to a friend.
Dr Malik admitted performing the procedure at the Sunderland Royal Hospital in 2010, but said he simply wanted to make sure she didn’t have a pelvic infection.
This week he was cleared of misconduct at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester after the panel found his conduct was not sexually motivated. He was criticised for failing to explain why he was undertaking the examination, failing to obtain her consent and failing to engage a chaperone as well as neglecting to record the findings of the examination.
Although deciding he had “failed to provide good care”to the patient, the tribunal ruled his actions were not serious enough to amount to misconduct.
Panel chairman Karen Heenan said: “The failings were all omissions. The panel accepted that there was no malice in your actions and that you were attempting to rule out a diagnosis of pelvic infection.
“The panel accepted that you attempted to explain your examination to Patient A. Although your note taking was not perfect, the panel considered that you took a reasonable history from the patient and recorded many of the elements of the consultation in the patient’s clinical records.
“According to your evidence, you recalled that the patient had given consent to the examination you carried out by nodding her head, although you were not able to explain why you had not engaged a chaperone. Nevertheless, you have admitted that your behaviour was a mistake on your part and that you have taken steps to increase your knowledge and skills in those areas which were identified as failings in your practice.”
The teenager attended A&E at the hospital with a group of friends. She was suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting and a headache, and was seen by Dr Malik after a consultation with a nurse.
An investigation was launched after the woman complained to two nurses that Dr Malik had performed a vaginal examination without her consent.
Dr Malik was reported to the GMC in February 2011 after a trust investigation. He is now free to return to work unrestricted.