'Bloodgate' doctor faces misconduct hearing

The doctor at the centre of the Harlequins ’Bloodgate’ scandal has been summoned to appear before a General Medical Council misconduct hearing in Manchester on August 23.

The doctor at the centre of the Harlequins ’Bloodgate’ scandal has been summoned to appear before a General Medical Council misconduct hearing in Manchester on August 23.

Dr Wendy Chapman, 46, is alleged to have deliberately cut the lip of Harlequins winger Tom Williams to cover up the use of a fake blood capsule in the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster on April 12, 2009.

The GMC Fitness to Practice hearing, which is expected to last two weeks, will also consider allegations that Chapman made statements to “deceive others that the injury occurred on the field”.

Chapman is also accused of failing to inform a subsequent European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearing that she had caused the injury to Williams’ lip.

The GMC alleges that Chapman’s conduct “was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest”. If found guilty she could be struck off.

Williams was provided with the blood capsule by Harlequins physio Steph Brennan, on the instructions of director of rugby Dean Richards.

The intention was to engineer a blood replacement in order to get fly-half Nick Evans, a specialist kicker, back onto the field in an attempt to win the game. In the end, Leinster held on to win 6-5.

Richards was given a three-year ban by the ERC disciplinary panel after it emerged he had faked blood injuries on five occasions, while the club were fined £259,000 (€313,000).

Williams had a one-year suspension reduced to four months on appeal after providing the hearing with fresh evidence, which exposed an alleged cover-up.

In evidence he gave to the ERC appeals hearing, Williams said he asked Chapman to cut his lip because the incident had aroused the suspicions of match officials and the Leinster medical staff.

Williams’ evidence also claimed that he had initially agreed to say he cut his own mouth because Chapman was “concerned about the impact it could have on her career if it came out she had cut my lip”.

Williams continued: “In order to protect her, we agreed that in the event the story of the fake injury was exposed I would say I cut my own lip.”

Chapman was not present at the ERC appeals hearing and so the panel reserved judgement.

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