If you are stuck for a little light bedtime reading, might I recommend browsing through the decisions of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPT) from the last 12 months? They make for illuminating – albeit bleak and sordid – reading. And if you pay particular attention to decisions marked ‘Erasure’ (meaning the tribunal has decided to strike a medical practitioner’s name from the Medical Register) you will not fail to reflect on the wisdom of Machiavelli in his summary of human nature: “All do wrong.”
My knowledge of the MPT’s decisions is by no means exhaustive, but even a cursory search reveals that almost all instances of Erasure involve some kind of threat to the safety of patients (as one would indeed assume). Most of these concern inappropriate sexual conduct or sexual offences. From the last month or so alone there is, for example, Dr. Cvetkovs, who gave money to a patient so she could buy cocaine and later had a sexual relationship with her; Mr. Baker, a consultant gynaecologist who entered into an inappropriate relationship with a female patient; Dr. Hume, who shared indecent images of children on internet chat rooms and took pictures of a female patient without her consent; Dr. Inthiraraj, who inappropriately contacted a vulnerable female patient and performed examinations on another patient without her consent; Dr. Ali, who intentionally communicated with what he thought were under-16 year old girls for sexual motives without realising they were undercover police officers; Dr. Varnum, who was convicted for possessing large numbers of indecent images of children; Dr. Walker, who did more or less the same thing as Dr. Ali, listed above; I could go on. Occasionally there are cases of outright incompetence (for example, administering the wrong medicine and failing to keep adequate records) or deceit (misrepresenting qualifications). But the basic gist of things is clear: if you get struck off as a doctor, it will basically be because you are likely to put patients at risk.