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TV row doctor found guilty of groping nurses

A doctor who “freaked out” and sexually assaulted a nurse because he did not want to watch Emmerdale had shown a “woeful” lack of insight into his actions, a medical panel has ruled.

Dr Satpal Jabbal squeezed her left breast with both hands after she grabbed the TV remote control from him to turn over to the ITV1 soap.

He also stamped on her bag of crisps, threw a hot cup of coffee over her and pushed the television from its stand as he shouted at her: “If I cannot watch the television, then neither can you.”

In a statement written shortly after the altercation, the nurse described how the doctor had “freaked out” when she playfully took the remote away from him in a hospital tea room.

A General Medical Council fitness to practise panel also found the anaesthetist guilty of sexually motivated and inappropriate behaviour towards two other nurses at Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire.

One nurse was subjected to a campaign of harassment between March 2006 and February 2007, and he grabbed the breast of a third nurse while she tended to a patient under anaesthetic.

Dr Jabbal, currently employed at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, Northern Ireland, had denied the allegations.

Panel chairman Professor Julian Whitehouse said: “Several of the incidents of sexual touching took place while your colleagues were attending to patients in vulnerable positions and were, therefore, unable to avoid you sexually touching them without compromising patient safety.”

“The panel has noted the profound impact of your actions upon your victims. Both were humiliated and ashamed. Both took sick leave from work for significant periods of time and neither ultimately felt able to return to work in the department where you remained in practise at the time.”

Referring to the Emmerdale incident in October 2001, he added: “You were involved in a violent, confrontational and sexually motivated incident with another colleague. Your conduct was both sexually motivated and inappropriate.”

The hearing in Manchester was told an investigation was launched by NHS Lanarkshire into the allegations made by the three nurses and he was eventually dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct in December 2009.

He was also found guilty of being dishonest and misleading when he applied for a job at Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust shortly after and told them there were allegations of assault against him but that he had no case to answer.

The panel also found his fitness to practise was impaired.

The panel will return tomorrow to consider what sanctions, if any, to impose on Dr Jabbal, which could include striking him off the medical register.

 

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