Doctor struck off for feeling patient’s breasts at Bury hospital
A cardiologist who repeatedly examined a woman topless and felt her breasts during examinations, then kissed her, has been struck off.
Dr Ajay Kumar Kanojia, told the young woman on the phone that she was ‘a very beautiful girl’ before ordering her to strip to the waist for his examinations on three occasions at West Suffolk Hospital between December 2010 and March 2011.
But it was only after reporting him when he hugged her and kissed her neck that she discovered his actions were not normal practise and he had been inappropriately touching her.
Another cardiologist told the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service that Kanojia’s examination techniques were ‘not recommended’ methods.
The tribunal also heard how he had also lifted a junior colleague’s top and kissed her tattoo while working at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
The married father-of-two denied the allegations but they were upheld at a fitness to practise tribunal in Manchester.
He was found guilty of misconduct and struck off the medical register, so is now permanently banned from practising medicine anywhere in the UK.
The patient, who wished to remain anonymous, gave her evidence from behind a screen during the hearing. She said she felt violated and was no longer comfortable going to see a male doctor on her own.
She added: “I had never been to see a cardiologist before so I just assumed that what he was doing was right,
“There’s a respect for people in those types of jobs in the medical profession and you expect them to treat you with the same respect and in accordance with the rules.
“I never thought that I was being taken advantage of because if I had I would never have gone back. To find out that he had been touching me inappropriately all along was really distressing and made it seem a lot more sinister.
“The most important thing for me was that he was stopped from doing the same to other women and so for him to be struck off, I feel like justice has been served.”
Dr Kanojia was also found guilty of failing in his medical duty towards the patient by not performing a simple ECG test to check her irregular heartbeat.
He admitted forging a prescription for himself and trying to persuade a work colleague to lie about it so he could get it through the pharmacy at Bury Asda.
He denied the allegations of inappropriate touching – but the panel ruled that he was guilty of sexually-motivated and dishonest misconduct and said they could not be confident that he wouldn’t do the same again.
Kim Harrison, from law firm Slater and Gordon, represented the female patient in a civil action against West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
She said: “This was an abuse of the trust that should exist between patient and doctor. What made it worse for my client is that she didn’t realise at first that anything he was doing was wrong.
“Every patient is entitled to expect that they will be treated with dignity and respect, not abused for the doctor’s own sexual gratification.”
A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “We only take locums from reputable agencies. We immediately raise any complaints we receive about locums with the agency and ensure they take them seriously including, wherever necessary, referral to the appropriate regulatory body.
“Once a complaint is received, we will no longer accept that locum for work at West Suffolk Hospital.”