Family doctor told suicidal woman to ‘go home and kill yourself’, inquest hears

A family doctor stunned a suicidal patient who was contemplating killing herself by telling her ‘you can go and jolly well do it now’, a medical tribunal heard today in Manchester.

Dr Arun Singhal, 65, twice advised the woman to kill herself during medical consultations, adding ‘if you don’t know how to do it, it’s on the internet how to do it’, it was alleged.

The GP, who worked at the Hillside Road surgery in Huyton, Liverpool, is also said to have told the vulnerable patient she was a ‘disgrace to be a patient’, during their meetings.

He refused a sick note failed to include a reference to the woman’s expression of suicidal intent and even added a false entry on patient records claiming that she had threatened to kill him, it was claimed.

She eventually taped his comments during one of the consultations.

Today, lawyers at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester told a fitness to practice panel that Singhal’s behaviour was an ‘abrogation’ of his position of trust and accused him of putting the woman in danger.

They also claimed his conduct had a ‘deleterious’ effect on her health.

Boyd Morwood, counsel for the General Medical Council (GMC), said the incidents took place during consultations in 2011 after the woman known as Patient A registered with Singhal’s surgery.

Mr Morwood said: “The charges against the doctor concern two separate consultations at the surgery. Prior to 2011, Patient A had been under the care of the doctor having lived locally.

“During the earlier period, she had been admitted and he was involved in her care. In April 2011, Patient A re-registered with the doctor’s surgery.

“During both periods he was aware that she was a vulnerable individual due to various mental health issues. All charges take place after the patient re-registered in 2011.”

The first charge related to a period shortly after Patient A re-registered with the surgery. She said she went to see the doctor to inform him that she was feeling suicidal and also said that her anti-depressant medication wasn’t working.

“To this, Dr Singhal, told Patient A ‘you should go home and kill yourself’, or words to that effect,” Mr Morwood said.

The other charges relate to a consultation on December 21 2011.

He added: “There was an exchange of words between the patient and the doctor. On that occasion Patient A was moved to make an audio recording of the consultation.

“In addition, during the consultation, in response to her suggesting that she should commit suicide, he said ‘you can go and jolly well do it now’ and ‘if you don’t know how to do it, it’s on the internet how to do it’.

“Quite clearly, if the doctor is found to have said these words to Patient A, the GMC’s case is that this would be an abrogation of his position of trust, present a danger to Patient A because of her vulnerable position and undermine her trust in the profession.”

The hearing was told during another incident the woman had been due to give evidence in a court case and had requested a letter from Dr Singhal excusing her from appearing on health grounds.

But he was said to have refused and would only agree if she paid him a private consultancy fee, it was said.

Mr Morwood said: “In relation to the refusal to provide the letter, the GMC submit it is wrong to refuse a letter by reason of inability to pay. The letter requested was relating to a court matter and would have had a deleterious effect on her health.”

“In summary, in relation to his interaction with Patient A in both consultations – firstly in relation to the consultation which occurred after re-registration stating she should go home and kill herself and in December 2011 refusing to give her a letter excusing her attendance and in reply to her stating she would commit suicide and advising her to do it and calling her a disgrace in being a patient – the GMC say this conduct is quite clearly misconduct and the doctor’s fitness to practice is impaired.”

The GMC argue that, if proven, Dr Singhal’s actions were misleading and dishonest he faces being struck off the medical register.

Patient A is due to give evidence tomorrow.

The hearing, which is expected to last five days, is going ahead in Dr Singhal’s absence after the panel heard he does not wish to take any part in the proceedings. The hearing continues.

Story via Cavendish Press

Image courtesy of apox apox with thanks

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