Doctor slapped patient’s face and told him ‘stop f****** about’ before surgery

An NHS doctor was convicted of assault after slapping a patient in the face moments before they went under the knife.

Dr David James, 57, was treating his last patient of the day before gallbladder surgery in August 2019 at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London.

He said he was just trying to put an oxygen mask on the poor patient after colleagues said they heard a visible 'smack' sound.

The Welsh-born anaesthetist has not worked since the tantrum and now faces a General Medical Council hearing, where his medical license could be reviewed.

James denied the offence but was found guilty of assault at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

He was slapped with a conditional discharge and must pay costs of £746.

Prosecutor Angela Mahadeo said: "Michael Cousins was assisting in theatre that afternoon and describes that he saw Dr James slap the patient. He describes he slapped him three times on the left side of the face and shouted: 'Stop messing around you f*****'.

"Dr Kathryn Singh was the junior anaesthetist. She was in the theatre and she describes that Dr James appeared stressed.

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"She said she heard Dr James say: 'Stop f****** around now'. She then said that she heard a slap sound. She asked Mr Cousins if Dr James had just slapped Mr Wright and he replied that he had."

The defendant argued the only contact he made was in trying to put an oxygen mask on the poor patient.

Judge Nigel McLean said he "wholly rejected" that excuse.

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Mr McLean added: "I found the evidence of Mr Cousins cogent and credible, as was the evidence of Dr Singh.

"Having worked non-stop since the start of the day you found yourself in an unexpected position and you did act wholly out of character.

"Dr James has served the community and National Health Service for a number of years and this is a dramatic fall from grace."

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