John Brookes, 47, a London based ophthalmologist who had sexual relations with one of his patients, has escaped all criminal charges after the Medical Practitioners Office decided that his skills were too crucial to send him to jail. Now this is something that I’m hearing for the first time. This decision implies that if your skills as a doctor are too great and crucial, you can get away with anything.
Brookes has made several trips to India and Mongolia, saving the sight of children with glaucoma, a condition that damages the optic nerve. His colleagues pay tribute to him frequently, saying he possesses ‘magical fingers’.
The affair started in late 2013 with one of Brookes’ adult male patients, and lasted for 15 months. He remained a patient of Brookes during the first seven months of the affair, which questions the decision making capabilities of the doctor and carries with it a lot of legal consequences. This man, who will be simply known as Patient A, got to hear about John’s magical work, after reading blogs about his trips to India.
Brookes was the one who called off the relationship, ending it in February 2015. Patient A did not react lightly, informing the hospital’s chief executive of the affair via Twitter. This prompted Brookes to refer himself to the General Medical Council in March 2015.
Brookes felt embarrassed about the whole scenario, claiming at the hearing: “I obviously totally regret that it developed this way or that it developed at all. I regret starting it in the first place. The way my boundaries were crossed in the first place was accepting to go for a drink. There had been communication and, morally, I made a huge error.”
It is none of our business what two consenting adults do together, but when either of them happens to be the other’s patient, it brings out many question. It is rather disheartening to see how Brookes got out of the situation scot-free, that instead of at least reprimanding him or barring him from practice, his colleagues at the Council gave him a pat on the back.