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Medical/christian ethics. Long.

(87 Posts)
stopmovingthefurniture Wed 01-May-13 20:44:35

Sorry if this is in the wrong place. I need advice on how to deal with a orthopedic surgeon (hereafter called X) who will not see me again until I go and ask my mother for forgiveness for the anger he believes I'm holding against her (but is harassing via email all the same!).

X is a family friend, in church leadership close to my parents. The denomination is evangelical. When he heard that I've been left disabled following a pregnancy, X offered to help me out of concern and is not being paid. He practices privately and is accountable to no one, at least in this instance. He checked at least twice that I was ok with his approach ('treating the whole person'). I gave consent, thinking that it sounded pleasantly holistic.

X has been taking a thorough history before doing anything - a deeply invasive process that took about seven hours, spread over 3-4 visits (plus very probing homework). While he was gentle and almost uncomfortably fatherly, it was clear that he was trying to zero in on anger towards DM during the questioning. DM was a controlling, possessive parent and I was a depressed teenager as a result. (Incidentally, X's history was a much more invasive and directive than a psychiatrist would carry out). I ended up actually apologising for not having much anger these days, having talked it through many years ago.

X now wants me to go to my mother re: forgiveness because (a) seeking forgiveness is obligatory for a professing christian and (b) it will create a physical release that will bring my physical up to a standard that he can use a medical intervention (steroid injection into the pelvic area).

On X's last visit, his manner was completely changed. He raised his voice and vehemently began to say I was ill because of the sin in my life; I needed to seek my mother's forgiveness for how I'd felt about her through my childhood and beyond. I tried to disagree and he held up my 'homework', half-shouting 'It's all over this!'. In the same tone, he virtually shouted what I'd written: 'deep unhappiness, isolation, annoyance...'. These emotions hadn't been connected with my mum and he'd made the word 'annoyance' up. When I pointed this out, he seemed very irritated and said 'Come on, there must have been anger!' He quoted a psalm in which the writer says that his bones ache as a result of sin (proof that bone problems can be the result of sin). Then another biblical example, of a man who had been thrown into torment because he had not forgiven a debt despite having had a larger debt forgiven himself. 'Would you say you were in torment?' he asked. I felt cornered because I'm clearly in torment. So I tried to engage with the request (why DM exactly) and X told me I was arrogantly overthinking when all that was required was faith, quoting the example of the Old Testament character who was cured of an illness by washing seven times in the Jordan, a river he considered unclean.

DH was tried to clarify the request and engage with it on my behalf, to which X repeatedly said 'look, I've been at this a long time' and went on to describe a past case where a woman in exactly my situation who hadn't done what he'd asked. He didn't want to say what had happened to her. X said the situation was urgent and deterioration would occur if the treatment didn't progress. He told me I may well have to hand over parenting responsibilities to my mother if I don't follow his 'request' (something I'd earlier said I had fears about, despite a specialist physio saying this isn't going to happen).

* X finished the consultation by telling me to arrange another when I'd done what he'd asked. I haven't done it and wasn't sure what to say to him, so I haven't yet contacted him (3 weeks later). He has now sent a couple of angry emails reiterating the urgent nature of the case and 'ramifications as stated'. I feel trapped.

* My very abusive FIL is also a church leader (same kind of church). DP refused to obey him and divorce me when we were struggling a couple of months into our marriage (FIL said that God would understand it was really an annulment because I was not 'as advertised'...) We eventually stepped back from relationship with them because it was simply toxic. I suspect he's the next person X would be sending me to ask forgiveness (X says God wishes everyone to be reconciled).

How do I deal with this? Is there anyone out there to help with this?

RescueCack Wed 01-May-13 22:33:15

shockshockshock As an evangelical Christian this is horrifying. He needs reporting.

theboutiquemummy Wed 01-May-13 22:35:11

I'm a Christian leaning towards evangelical and I'm going to tell you now that THIS HAS NOTHING WHAT SO EVER TO DO WITH GOD he doesn't operate in this fashion

Please do not see this man again and report him this is ABUSE !

badbelinda Wed 01-May-13 22:37:29

I'm also a Dr and like bigdisco am horrified at this story, PLEASE report to GMC so nobody else comes under his "care"

Giggle78 Thu 02-May-13 09:32:05

I am a Christian and can I tell you now that this is outrageous.

Do not go back to this man.

Musicaltheatremum Thu 02-May-13 10:26:46

As a GP (and a Christian ...although he sounds most unChristianlike) I would say run from this very quickly and phone the GMC and tell them what has happened. I am very concerned by your post and concerned about what has happened. I don't know if the invasivness was physical or mental but he is totally abusing his position as a medical practitioner. Did he explain in detail how his "holistic" approach worked? There is nothing wrong with treating the whole person as psychological factors affect pain etc but this is not normal.
Please do not see this man again and please phone the GMC.

Fakebook Thu 02-May-13 10:33:04

shock My initial thought was "this can't be in the UK"...but it is?

Report the loon!

Booboostoo Thu 02-May-13 10:54:17

This is a very worrying post OP. I am so sorry you were subjected to this and under no circumstances should you see this man again and certainly not in a professional capacity.

If he is a doctor then he is legally obliged to be registered with the GMC who need to know about his conduct as a matter of urgency. He sounds mentally ill in a way that would compromise the care he gives his patients.

If he is not a qualified doctor but claims to be or offers medical treatment you need to contact the police.

CwtchesAndCuddles Thu 02-May-13 11:00:33

Another evangelical christian here - this is madness PLEASE REPORT THIS MAN!

wreckedone Thu 02-May-13 11:11:24

If this is for real, then the guy needs reporting-any doctor, practising in the NHS or not, must be registered. [[ GMC) allows you to check registration using his name. Do it.

wreckedone Thu 02-May-13 11:12:54

If this is for real, then the guy needs reporting-any doctor, practising in the NHS or not, must be registered. GMC allows you to check registration using his name. Do it.

Weegiemum Thu 02-May-13 11:16:42

This is utterly horrific!

(I'm speaking from the position of being a practising fairly evangelical Christian married to a doctor).

1) the medical side is crap. Orthopods are renowned throughout the medical world for being really crap at communication and if he has no proper counselling training (like a GP or Psychiatrist) then he's waaaaay overstepping the bounds of his speciality. You really need to report, both to the Royal College of Surgeons and also the GMC. As a matter of urgency - who knows what other patients he's peddling his crap to?

2) as a"Christian" he's also being crap. Your issues with your mother are none of his bloody business and he is way over the line here too. I'd consider writing to his church leader/pastor/minister and explaining the pressure he is putting you under.

You can get help on the NHS for your pelvic problems. And if you need to deal with things regarding your mother, you can be referred to counselling on the nhs too. Stay away from this dangerous man!

2 questions though
Did you know him in any way before this?
Are you in N.Ireland? If so, I think I know who it is (sorry).

BreastmilkCrucifiesAFabLatte Thu 02-May-13 11:27:18

Speaking also as a Christian, I agree that this doctor is just beyond the pale and being just unacceptably inappropriate and unprofessional.

Certainly there is a broad acceptance within Christianity that a lack of forgiveness may lead to medical problems, but the operative word is may. A medical degree and the Hippocratic Oath entitle Christians to practice as doctors, not to pass judgment on the personal and/or spiritual lives of their patients. This man has no authority whatsoever to demand anything of you.

I've had a fair bit of help from private Christian doctors over the years, and so am not in principle opposed to those who practice outside the NHS in order to use their faith in the way that they practice. But this man is trying to abuse his power and to manipulate you.

And so, I agree with other posters: do not contact him again (either directly or through your DH/parents) and do not answer any phone calls/emails/letters from him. Report him to the GMC.

PunkHedgehog Thu 02-May-13 11:56:57

As so many others have said, this 'surgeon' is insane and dangerous.

I'm glad you're going to the GMC. Please also report him to any other professional bodies he is (or claims to be) registered or have trained with, such as the Royal College of Surgeons

If you find he is not registered - and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find he isn't - report him to the police.

If he tries to contact you after you've told him not to, report him to the police.

If he contacts your family, harrasses you in the street, or threatens you in any way, report him to the police.

And please go to see a proper doctor. Not a friend of the family. An impartial, professional, qualified, NHS doctor. At a proper hospital, with professional standards, accountabilty and complaints procedures.

PunkHedgehog Thu 02-May-13 12:01:14

You should possibly also give some careful thought to finding a new church.

EldritchCleavage Thu 02-May-13 12:11:30

Where is the forgiveness for you? Where is his Christian love for you?

He is clearly using your shared religious background as a means of exerting an abusive level of interference and control over you.

I agree with everyone saying report him.

Dilidali Thu 02-May-13 12:13:51

I am speechless. Please report him to the GMC, RCS and police.

Dahlialover Thu 02-May-13 12:19:06

I have been helping a friend with a difficult situation where they were being 'sucked into' something which was not normal. It is very difficult to see where the line is when you are in the midst of something that seemed perfectly ok and this changes. However, you can now look back and see that the line has been well and truly crossed.

Definitely report him to the GMC and keep the e-mails.

If he is not answerable to them, he is not a proper doctor and should not be practicing as one, and should be reported to the police (I knew of someone who did this. It is serious).

Go to your GP and get referred to a proper doctor.

Meerkatwhiskers Thu 02-May-13 12:26:40

I'm a student nurse. I agree that you should report him to the GMC. Even if he is practicing privately he ill still need to be registered with them.

With regard to religion and medicine, I feel it should be kept separate. It is all very well healthcare professionals and patients having faith but they shouldn't be discussed or involved in treatment in anyway. At the moment at uni i'm being taught that I should be responsible for a patients spiritual needs. I feel very uncomfortable about this. I'm an atheist personally and am in no way qualified to address the spiritual needs of any religion even being bought up catholic. They still have chaplains/religious representatives in hospitals. Don't they do this job?

Meerkatwhiskers Thu 02-May-13 12:29:12

Secondly, there is also the other ethical issue of treating someone that you know. I would not be comfortable with working with someone I know and if there was someone I knew who was a patient on a ward i was working on, I would ensure i was working on a part of the ward that would minimise my contact with them.

stopmovingthefurniture Thu 02-May-13 13:50:12

I've spoken to GMC who agreed that this is something they would need to investigate. I will submit an account of what's happened to them today (via their online complaints section).

quoteunquote Thu 02-May-13 14:22:48

Good luck OP

BoreOfWhabylon Thu 02-May-13 15:17:45

Yes, good luck and well done, OP.

BreastmilkCrucifiesAFabLatte Thu 02-May-13 15:29:22

Well done. Glad the GMC are taking this seriously.

TigerseyeMum Thu 02-May-13 15:37:28

So glad you are reporting him. He is dangerous, no one else should have his madness inflicted upon them in the name of treatment.

I wonder if he is registered, or insured. Technically, from the abuse you have received already, you could make a claim. My worry is this man is a charlatan with no insurance of professional regulation. Which makes it even more important that he is reported and the gmc take action.

Well done for taking the step.

MrsHoarder Thu 02-May-13 15:48:15

Well done OP. Good luck.

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