News and Views
Nigerian GP who groped suicidal woman telling her ‘you want it’ keeps job after he blamed ‘cultural differences’
- Dr Emmanuel Kanu stroked the woman’s breast and told her: ‘You want it’
- General Medical Council said he should be struck off, but will keep his job
- Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service suspended Kanu, 36, for six months
- They found father-of-one guilty of sexually motivated serious misconduct
A doctor groped a vulnerable divorcee in her home days after she had attempted suicide – but kept his job after citing ‘cultural differences’.
Dr Emmanuel Kanu stroked her breast, repeatedly tried to kiss her and told her, ‘You want it’ when she tried to escape his clutches during the visit – which he hid from colleagues.
When she later texted him to tell him to stop ringing her he withheld his number on the next call.
But Kanu, a married Nigerian father of one, has been allowed to keep his job by a fitness to practise panel even though the General Medical Council called for him to be struck off.
He told the panel he had not molested the patient and claimed ‘cultural differences’ led to the visit on September 3, 2011, saying: ‘There is a clear divide between the doctor and the patient here, which is very different in Nigeria.’
But the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service only suspended the 36-year-old for six months, despite finding he was guilty of sexually motivated serious misconduct.
Campaigners against violence towards women criticised the ‘incredibly lenient penalty’. Nicole Westmarland, former chairman of Rape Crisis and Professor of Criminology at Durham University, asked ‘what it takes for a doctor to be struck off’.
She said: ‘This doctor has committed a number of sexual offences on a woman who was in a very vulnerable position.
‘A six-month suspension is an incredibly lenient penalty and the question remains: what will happen within the six months that will supposedly change his behaviour when he returns to work?’
The doctor, who had recently completed GP training and was undergoing specialist training in psychiatry, was on a locum shift at the A&E department of Darlington Memorial Hospital, County Durham, when the divorcee was brought in after taking a ‘substantial overdose’.
She was still recovering in an emergency ward bed when he asked for her mobile number and then rang her when she was discharged five days later to say he was ‘thinking of her’.
He arranged to meet the mother-of-two, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at her home in Darlington for what the woman believed was a medical assessment.
But he asked to use her laptop and then viewed Facebook photos of her as he sat next to her on a sofa.
A report into his actions stated that he put his arm around her and stroked her chest. It added: ‘She informed the panel she was “scared, frozen to the spot” and said “I was unsure, he was a doctor”.
‘She said when you saw the picture of her [breast] feeding her son you said “They’re big. Are they as big as that now?” and squeezed her left breast.’
When she stormed off to her kitchen Kanu followed her and kept trying to kiss her, saying at one point: ‘I can see it in your eyes that you want it.’
Kanu, who qualified in 2005 from the University of Nigeria, called her after he left but the woman, who was 43 at the time, texted: ‘It was not right what you tried to do. You are a doctor and I was your patient. I didn’t want or asked to be touched by you.’
Kanu, who worked at Borders General Hospital near his home in Melrose, Roxburghshire, was acquitted of sexual assault at Durham Crown Court in 2012.
He told the fitness to practise panel he had not molested the patient and claimed ‘cultural differences’ led to the visit on September 3, 2011, saying: ‘There is a clear divide between the doctor and the patient here, which is very different in Nigeria.’
But this was dismissed as not being a ‘credible explanation’. The panel branded his behaviour ‘deplorable’ and ‘unprofessional.’
Kanu denied any knowledge of the case when approached by the Daily Mail. A spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said Kanu was dismissed as soon as the complaint came to light.