Updated: Jul 11
By Lucy Williamson - MyLondonNews - 21.02.2023 - [UK] - [Ewere Onyekpe]
A married doctor at a North London hospital had sex with a patient 'to help with her chest pain'. Dr Ewere Onyekpe started a sexual relationship with the patient which included WhatsApp messages with medical advice interspersed with naked photos.
He had been working at Whittington Hospital, Archway, North London, when a female patient went to A&E suffering with back pain initially, on the evening of the June 5, 2020. He discharged her but before leaving she gave Dr Onyekpe a piece of paper with her telephone number on it, an employment tribunal heard. Dr Onyekpe initiated contact with the patient to ask how she is feeling and to call her 'pretty'. She then went back to the A&E department, complaining of chest pain, on 10 June 2020. Dr Onyekpe was on duty, but the patient was treated by another doctor.
The patient messaged Dr Onyekpe on WhatsApp that she was in A&E. Dr Onyekpe steered the conversation towards sex asking if she has sex as it helps with pain. She responded by asking for any suggestions and Dr Onyekpe replied: “You know I want to …. You but I could get into trouble,” adding: “In the UK it is not allowed Doctor and patient.”
The conversation became more graphic and at 11.16pm, Dr Onyekpe sent her a message asking if he could perform oral sex on her before she left the hospital. Dr Onyekpe then had sex with the patient in the hospital toilets. The sexual activity was consensual but at Dr Onyekpe’s suggestion.
The next day, Dr Onyekpe went to her home home and again had sex with her again. In the weeks that followed, there were then 'inappropriate, sexually motivated' WhatsApp conversations about their private lives, flattery of the patient, exchanging of naked photographs interspersed with medical advice.
The relationship between Dr Onyekpe and the patient petered out, but on August 3, 2020, Dr Onyekpe was arrested on suspicion of raping the patient on June 10, 2020. The police decided to take no further action against Dr Onyekpe in regard to the rape allegation.
In a tribunal last month (January 7), Dr Onyekpe said in a statement that he had the support of his wife and pointed out his otherwise 'unblemished career', while admitting to all the allegations. He has also received counselling from a pastor in the United States. His representative said that the doctor accepts he should have ignored the telephone number Patient A gave him and explained to her that he cannot contact her.
In his witness statement he added: "I appreciate that what I did was awful and that I let down myself and my family and my colleagues. I also accept the because the power imbalance between me as a doctor and her of the patient, it can be perceived that I took advantage of my professional position in pursuing this brief sexual relationship, consensual though it may have been."
The tribunal found that the nature of the text communication and the two sexual encounters, one of which was on the hospital site, was "deplorable" and would bring the medical profession into disrepute. Dr Onyekpe was
suspended for six months with immediate effect. A review hearing has been scheduled, where he will be given the opportunity to show how he has reflected on his behaviour, and why he should be allowed back onto the doctor's register.
A spokesperson for Whittington Health NHS Trust said: “We expect all of our staff to uphold the very highest professional standards at all times and in all that they do. We took all appropriate actions as soon as we were alerted to this incident. We have since worked closely with relevant authorities to ensure that the matter could be fully and properly investigated.”
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.