'Bloodgate' doctor not guilty of deceit
August 26, 2010
Tom Williams faked a blood injury during last year's Heineken Cup defeat by Leinster © Getty Images
A medical disciplinary panel has accepted that Dr Wendy Chapman had no prior knowledge of Harlequins' faking of a blood injury in their Heineken Cup clash with Leinster last year before wing Tom Williams asked her to cut his lip after the game.
However, the General Medical Council fitness to practise panel ruled that the doctor had not acted in the best interests of the player by acceding to the request.
Panel chairman Brian Alderman said there was no evidence that Chapman's cutting of Williams' lip, in order to authenticate the 'injury', was "pre-meditated" or that she had had "any involvement or knowledge of the deception".
However, he added: "The panel consider that, while Tom Williams was a professional player and part of the team and you were a team doctor, he was in fact your patient at the time of the incident.
"As a doctor, your care of duty was to the patient irrespective of the pressure you were feeling at the time. They (her actions) were not in the best interests of his health. You were there to treat his alleged injury, not to cause one."
Chapman had already admitted all of the charges brought against her, bar the accusation that she had claimed that the 'blood' gushing from Williams' mouth as he left the field had been the result of a loose tooth.
The GMC will rule later on Thursday whether Chapman is fit to contine to practise medicine in light of her misconduct.
The 'Bloodgate' scandal is considered one of the biggest in rugby history. After finding themselves 6-5 down in their quarter-final clash with Leinster and without a specialist goal-kicker on the field, Harlequins cynically instructed Williams to bite on a fake-blood capsule.
As per the rules of the game, Quins were able to make a 'blood substitution', replacing the seemingly injured Williams with fly-half Nick Evans. Leinster held on to win the game but doubts were immediately raised about the authenticity of Williams' injury and that prompted an investigation which ultimately led to twelve-month ban for Williams, which was later reduced to four months on appeal, a three-year ban for former director of rugby Dean Richards and a two-year ban for physiotherapist Steph Brennan.