August 2019

Doctor struck off after covering girl patients with sheets to touch them inappropriately

A former NHS doctor has been struck off the medical register after a tribunal found he had sexually touched female child patients during lymph node examinations.

Magdy Boutros Fahmy Eskander inappropriately examined the two 11-year-olds and one teenager under 16 on separate occasions between 6 January, 2011, and 16 July, 2012.

A medical practitioners tribunal in Manchester found proved that Mr Eskander had conducted examinations on the three girls and touched them inappropriately for his own sexual gratification.

He failed to correctly explain what the examinations would entail and covered them in sheets to conceal what he was doing, tribunal documents say.

Throughout the tribunal, which ran for 20 days and ended on July 30, the girls were referred to as Patient A, B and C as they cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The findings of the civil tribunal found that the allegations were true on the balance of probabilities.

Other allegations of impropriety were not proved.

The tribunal determined to erase him from the medical register after finding him impaired and has imposed an immediate order of suspension.

He has 28 days to appeal the decision.

Despite the findings, however, Mr Eskander was found not guilty of three charges of sexual assault at Teesside Crown Court in 2017.

He faced two separate but sequential criminal investigations and trials and was acquitted at both.

Magdy Eskander qualified in 1981 in Egypt and started working in the NHS in 1982.

In 1990 he joined the Medical Corp of the British Armed Forces and retired in 1998 before returning to work in the NHS.

In 2004 he gained a Consultant Orthopaedic post at the County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust.

The Trust has three hospitals, Darlington Memorial Hospital, Bishop Auckland General Hospital and Durham University Hospital.

Mr Eskander was mainly based at Durham University Hospital until he retired from the NHS in 2016.

Patient A was 11-years-old at the time and attended a consultation with her mum in January 2011.

She had been referred to the hospital by her GP because of an injury to her knee.

At the end of the consultation Mr Eskander referred her for physiotherapy and an MRI scan.

But Patient A said that she was “freaked out” when she left the consultation but didn’t want to speak to her mum about it.

Later the same day she spoke to her sister at school and said the doctor “felt her up”.

Her mother was independently concerned about the consultation and did her own research as to whether the examination she witnessed was appropriate.

She sought advice from various sources and went to see her GP, who wrote to Mr Eskander asking for an explanation of the examination.

She wrote the letter without the knowledge of Patient A, as at that point, the girl had only given a very brief account to her mum.

Mr Eskander responded by letter and denied there had been an examination of Patient A’s breasts.

He said at the time he had explained what he was doing, which was examining the lymph nodes and expected it was this examination that had been misinterpreted as a breast examination.

Following the letters there was a complaint to the police, who sought expert advice in relation to the examination and were informed that examination in the groin and armpit areas would be appropriate.

The police did not take an account from Patient A and decided to take no further action.

But the tribunal, which ended in July, found proved that Mr Eskander had conducted an examination underneath a covering and had not explained to her what the examination involved.

It was also found proved he touched her breast area, put his hands inside her underwear and touched her genitals during an examination.

It was found proved that his actions were sexually motivated too.

Patient B was a 14-year-old girl who had been referred to Mr Eskander in April 2011 by her GP due to back pain.

He examined her on six occasions for complaints relating to her back and knee.

The tribunal heard Mr Eskander did not have any recollection of Patient B at all and relied on his medical notes of the consultation and what was his usual practice.

The girl spoke to her mother at the time but stated she never told her the extent of what had happened.

It was only after she told her school nurse in 2014 that the police became involved. Patient B was formally interviewed by police in October 2014 when she was 17.

The tribunal heard the patient said “alarm bells were ringing” and that he was touching “sexual parts and felt that should not have been happening”.

The tribunal found proved that in June 2011 Mr Eskander touched her left breast and put hands into the waist band of her underwear.

However, these actions were not deemed to be sexually motivated by the tribunal.

In December 2011 he covered her with a sheet and examined her, touched her breast and put his hand in her underwear and touched her genitals.

These examinations were found proved to be sexually motivated.

Patient C was 11-years-old when she was referred to Mr Eskander in October 2011, due to back problems.

She attended two consultations in October 2011 and July 2012. Her mother was present at both consultations.

A chaperone was present at the first consultation but not at the second consultation.

Patient C told the tribunal that following the first consultation she had spoken to her mum.

She could not remember exactly what she had said to her but had told her that Mr Eskander had “touched her down there”.

Both examinations were undertaken using a sheet too.

The tribunal heard that Mr Eskander had no memory of Patient C.

Mr Eskander refuted that he would carry out any examination under a sheet, as this would be inappropriate.

However, it was found proved that between October 2011 and July 2012 Mr Eskander had covered the patients groin with a sheet and conducted an examination and put his hand inside her underwear and touched her genitals.

It was also proved he failed to explain what the lymph node examination involved and put his hand inside the crop top she was wearing and underwear and touched her breast area during examinations.

It was proved he had touched her genitalia and that his actions were sexually motivated.

Due to the “serious misconduct involving three vulnerable patients”, the tribunal was satisfied that it was necessary for the protection of members of the public and in the public interest for Mr Eskander’s registration to be suspended.

This means that his registration will be suspended from when notification is deemed to have been served.

If an appeal is made within 28 days, the immediate order will remain in force until the appeal has concluded.

The interim order currently imposed on Mr Eskander’s registration will be revoked when the immediate order takes effect.

The tribunal acknowledged that these findings are not criminal convictions but did illustrate a gross breach of trust.