24 jun 2016
An Indian-origin doctor was suspended in London on Tuesday, following a hearing at the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service (MPTS), after three women complained against him for sexual offences, including an unwarranted breast examination to see if they were “still milking”.
Dr Mahesh Patwardhan (in pic), who got his medical degree from Bombay University in 1986, worked in Mumbai for eight years before moving to London, where he worked as a gynaecologist and obstetrician at several prominent hospitals, including Newham General Hospital, Royal London Hospital, North Middlesex Hospital, Blackheath Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He has also taught at KEM and Wadia Hospital.
The case that came up in a Fitness to Practise panel at the MPTS in Manchester, heard from three victims, how Patwardhan would allegedly ask them to remove their upper clothing and then ‘grope’ them from behind. Dr Patwardhan allegedly failed to offer a chaperone, make an accurate record of his examinations or offer an explanation for his actions. Patient A told the panel that in July 2008, during an appointment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Patwardhan told her to remove her top and inappropriately touched her.
Patient B had a similar experience in September 2012, when Patwardhan allegedly touched her inappropriately and pressed against her. In both these cases, the panel could not find any medical reasons for the examination and believed them to be ‘sexually motivated’.
The third victim (Patient C) complained of sexual misconduct of a continuing nature. In Blackheath Hospital in May 2012, Patwardhan allegedly inappropriately touched and squeezed her breasts.
He allegedly said it was to check if they were ‘still milking’. He then asked her if she had any tattoos or piercings. When told there was one on her bottom, he allegedly helped her pull down her jeans, then smiled and said, ‘oh’.
Patwardhan allegedly called patient C ‘special’ and sometimes kissed and hugged her. He even patted her bottom at the end of the consultancy.
Calling Patwardhan a ‘continuing risk to patients’, the panel decided that in ‘wider public interest, particularly in maintenance of public confidence in the profession’, a mere period of suspension would not be enough.
Patwardhan maintained that he was innocent. He told the panel that he had no reason to ‘jeopardise his career’ when he had ‘everything going well’ for him in both his professional and family life. After 25 years in the medical profession, Patwardhan has claimed to treat about five million patients.
“Why would I do something like this and give away everything I have got over this time? There is no reason for me to do this,” he told the panel.
Patwardhan has been suspended until an erasure takes effect. He can appeal against this decision within 28 days.