'Bloodgate' doctor faces hearing

A doctor at the centre of the “Bloodgate” fabricated rugby injury scandal will face a medical disciplinary hearing today.

A doctor at the centre of the “Bloodgate” fabricated rugby injury scandal will face a medical disciplinary hearing today.

Dr Wendy Chapman is alleged to have deliberately cut the lip of Harlequins winger Tom Williams to conceal his use of a fake-blood capsule on the pitch.

Williams burst the capsule in his mouth to engineer a blood replacement which allowed a substituted specialist kicker back on to the field in the closing minutes of last April’s Heineken Cup quarter-final tie against Leinster.

Leinster held on though to win the European rugby union tournament game 6-5 at the west London club’s Twickenham Stoop ground.

Dr Chapman is said to have cut the player with a scalpel to make it appear that he had sustained a genuine injury on the field of play and then made false statements to support the alleged deception.

The match-day doctor is also accused of not telling the disciplinary committee of the European Rugby Cup (ERC) in July 2009 that she had caused the lip injury.

Lawyers for the General Medical Council will argue that her conduct was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.

Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards was given a three-year ban by a ERC appeals panel after Williams changed his evidence.

It emerged during the ERC hearing that Richards had ordered fake blood injuries on four other occasions and orchestrated the “Bloodgate” cover-up.

Williams’ initial 12-month ban was reduced to four months following his admission of the capsule use, while the club was fined €315,000.

The ERC appeal panel also gave former Harlequins physio Steph Brennan a two-year ban from rugby.

Mr Brennan will face his own disciplinary hearing when he appears before the Health Professions Council in London on September 13.

The HPC’s Conduct and Competence Committee will consider allegations that Brennan bought the blood capsule and gave it to Williams with the intention of it being used to cheat.

Mr Brennan is accused of being complicit in a subsequent cover-up and of fabricating wounds on a number of occasions other than the April 12 clash with Leinster.

Dr Chapman could be struck off if found guilty of misconduct at the GMC fitness to practise hearing in Manchester which is scheduled to last two weeks.

The accident and emergency consultant at Maidstone Hospital is currently suspended from practice, pending the outcome of the the GMC hearing.

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