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Abuse leaves patient feeling 'violated by NHS'

Updated: May 2

By Jen Smith - BBC News - 01.05.2024 - [UK] - [Iuliu Stan] A patient from Cornwall who was abused by a doctor at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro said it left him feeling violated by the NHS. Dr Iuliu Stan was struck off the medical register after an independent medical tribunal concluded he "preyed" on patients for sexual gratification.

The doctor worked in Trauma and Orthopaedics as a locum senior house officer at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust for five years.

The trust said it recognised the tribunal's findings have been distressing and it was "deeply sorry" for this. A misconduct hearing earlier this year heard the doctor subjected patients - some of them children - to "unnecessary, invasive and intimate procedures for his own sexual gratification".

The tribunal found: "Dr Stan, over the previous five years, had prescribed and administered rectal medication personally on over 200 occasions and sometimes multiple times to the same patient. "It was noted that he only administered this medication to male patients and was failing to follow the chaperone policy." It also heard Dr Stan failed to obtain informed consent from patients, and failed to offer alternative medications.

The case has been referred to Devon and Cornwall Police.

One of Dr Stan's patients, who agreed to speak to the BBC on condition of anonymity, said he was "anxious, upset and angry" after learning what had happened to him.

He said: "I just felt completely violated by the NHS. Something that you trust so much, and it's been wiped away just like that."

'Put my faith'

The patient said he was shocked to get a phone call from the trust, five years after he was treated by the doctor. He said: "During my treatment, I didn't know that this was going on. I mean, there were some parts of the treatment we did think, this was a bit strange.

"But being in the position I was, I was like, this is how things must work in the hospital.

"So I just got on with it. I put my faith in the doctor. I've struggled a lot with health anxiety, so anytime I go to the doctors, or have something wrong with me, it causes a lot of stress to me anyway. "So having this on top has completely taken away any faith I had in doctors."

Dr Stan qualified in medicine in his native Romania in 2007, before spending two years working in the UK. He then returned to Romania to complete his training in General Trauma Orthopaedics. He later worked at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust from 2015-2020.

Dr Stan did not attend the independent medical tribunal and did not submit a statement.

The tribunal did hear evidence that the use of rectal pain relief is not uncommon in Romania where Dr Stan trained.

Gary Walker, a lawyer in the Truro office of the firm Enable Law which is representing some of Dr Stan's affected patients, said it was startling that Dr Stan was allowed to practice for so long.

He said: "The hospital had investigated Dr Stan's actions in May 2020, yet he was allowed to continue practising until September that year. "I was also surprised to hear it had been investigated by the Trust and the GMC for a subsequent three years.

"But none of the patients had been notified, or that their medical records had been used for those investigations without their permission."

'Waiting for answers'

The tribunal heard how Dr Stan's practice at the RCHT went unchallenged until a parent became concerned over how long his child's treatment was taking.

Mr Walker said: "There is some report at some time in early 2020, that the hospital did attempt to deal with. They called Dr Stan, who had a meeting with a clinical director... which is followed up with a letter. "But his actions did not change... he continued to perform intimate examinations on adults and children after that date.

"My clients have many questions which have been posed to the hospital, but we're still waiting for answers." The patient said: "I haven't been given enough information at all by the trust. I've continually emailed the trust, to seek out more help, to ask what happens now and they've just ignored me... it's very shocking.

"And it's been horrible to see everything that's been published online, without the victims getting any actual, proper information".

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust said: "Following the outcome of the tribunal in February, we are working with safeguarding agencies and the case has been referred to the police.

"We recognise the tribunal’s findings have been distressing for those concerned and are deeply sorry for this. "We have written to patients whose records were reviewed as part of the General Medical Council investigation to extend our apologies and to offer support and an opportunity to meet with us." If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.


Dignity4Patients Commentary - Disregard for full investigations and the dignity of patients yet again leads to prolonged opportunity for #SexualAbuse, and damage to patients. Isn't it time health authorities dealt with this problems once and for all.? #PatientFirst #PatientProtection


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