A British court will come to a verdict today concerning the case of GA Dr. Richard Scott, who is accused of “pushing” his Christian faith on a suicidal patient.
Scott, who has been in the medical practice for 28 years, received a complaint by the mother of an anonymous patient in August 2010. The anonymous patient, a 24-year-old male, claims that he felt Dr. Scott “belittled” his own faith by discussing Jesus.
“I dealt with the medical issues, so to say I merely offered him Jesus is nonsense,” argued Scott.
Scott suggested that the suicidal patient, who was suffering from depression and anxiety, consider using Jesus for “strength and comfort.”
The GMC, or General Medical Council, accuses him of harassment and being “insensitive, exploitative, and inappropriate.”
The two day court case, which should come to a verdict today, has multiple possible outcomes.
Although the GMC has no power to stop Scott’s medical practice, they can issue a warning that will remain on Scott’s public record for 5 years, or they can push the case to the Fitness to Practice council, which will reconsider Scott’s eligibility to practice medicine.
Scott chose to skip the initial step of accepting a formal complaint and instead opted to take the case directly to public hearing. By doing this, Scott has given himself the opportunity to be considered by public court, as opposed to going straight to the Fitness to Practice council.
Scott argues that because the complaint was issued by the patient’s mother, as opposed to the patient, it has no real legal standing.
Scott remains confident in his stance, saying that he hopes to show the public the “bigger picture.”
“I want to give confidence and inspiration to other Christians who work in the medical profession,” Scott said.
The public has also become involved in the court case. On the Daily Mail website, one follower contends:
“Why on earth would this even be an issue? If a doctor wants to give you advice on a non-medical issue, you can choose to listen to it, or not.”
Scott, one of six Christian doctors practicing at the Bethesda Medical Center in Margate, remains protected under the medical center’s website guidelines, which states that spiritual matters are likely to be discussed with patients of the center.
The case proves tricky, however, as GMC rules clearly state doctors may not weave religious or spiritual teaching into medical discussions with their patients.
“Most people are aware we are a Christian practice and if anyone doesn’t want to speak about it we stop,” said Scott.
Scott claims that when requesting if he could discuss religion with the young patient for a “few quick seconds,” the patient told him to “go for it.”
Scott’s defense lawyer Paul Diamond argues that his client behaved professionally at all times, and that he offered a “simple suggestion” to his patient. The only question, according to Diamond, is if the conversation was “sensitive and appropriate” for the victimized patient, a matter which is not legally large enough to suit the GMC. Rather, Diamond argues, the case should remain a personal discussion between Scott and the patient.
The anonymous patient did not arrive at the case in court due to “anxiety,” but Scott’s lawyers argue that a note from the patient will not suffice; he must be present during trial.
The accuser’s lack of presence may push the verdict farther back from today.