Surgeon, 60, who slapped female patient across the face in busy hospital corridor is cleared of misconduct and allowed to continue his career
- Dr Mohammed Din Maarij, 60, was found to have struck woman ‘out of instinct’
- The unnamed patient attacked the doctor from behind unprovoked in May 2018
- Dr Maarij lost his job at Princess Royal University Hospital, Kent, after incident
Din Maarij, 60, struck a patient in an ‘instinctive’ action after she attacked him unprovoked from behind in May 2018
A surgeon who slapped a female patient across the face after she attacked him on a busy hospital corridor has been cleared by a disciplinary panel.
Dr Mohammad Din Maarij, 60, was spared career ruin Tuesday after successfully arguing he had struck the woman in a ‘reflex manoeuvre’ to defend himself.
The unnamed patient had attacked Dr Maarij unprovoked and from behind in the A&E unit, hitting him up to three times on the head.
After striking the patient during the confrontation, the doctor lost his job as a surgical assessment registrar at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Locksbottom, Kent following an internal inquiry.
He then faced being struck off the doctor’s register altogether after having to refer himself to the General Medical Council and endure a three year ordeal as he awaited the result of an investigation.
Today it emerged Dr Maarij was cleared of misconduct charges after a disciplinary panel ruled that whilst he had hit the woman, it was not deliberate and he had been ‘in shock following the unprovoked and unexpected attack from behind.’
The ruling means he is free to continue his 35-year career in medicine.
The incident occurred on May 28, 2018, after the woman known only as Patient A had shown signs of ‘mental illness’ after being treated for several hours in the ‘Majors A’ section of the Emergency Department.
She was walking along a corridor when she accosted Dr Maarij from behind as he stood by a trolley before repeatedly striking him on the head.
According to eye witnesses the enraged doctor held his head, then turned round and told her to ‘come here’, before striking her on the left side of her head with his open right hand.
A junior doctor known only as Dr B said: ‘Dr Maarij walked 2-3 steps from where Patient A hit him towards Patient A and said something like ‘come here’ to Patient A.
‘Dr Maarij was clearly shocked from having been hit but I would also say that he definitely seemed angry when he said this.
‘I formed this impression from the tone of his voice, his facial expression and the events that followed.’
Mr C, who was a Junior Charge Nurse in the Emergency Department at the time, told the hearing: ‘Patient A went up to Dr Maarij, on his right hand side and hit him somewhere on the head.
Dr Maarij will continue his decades-long career in medicine after his slapping of a patient across the face was deemed to be ‘instinctive’ after she attacked him from behind in A&E
‘It was quite a close hit and I heard the sound.
‘Dr Maarij was surprised that it had happened and he retaliated and slapped Patient A, with his open hand.
‘He retaliated so quickly that I thought it was probably a reflex action.’
Dr Maarij told the hearing he was using his hand to ‘defend himself’ and maintained he was ‘pushing’ Patient A away, as opposed to deliberately hitting her.
He said: ‘I believe that she hit me two or three times. I used my left hand to defend my face and with my right hand, I attempted to push her away.
‘I pushed her back with my open hand by contacting her face but I am not quite sure about the exact location as everything happened very quick and I was shocked, panicked and scared.’
A colleague who works as an Associate Specialist in the Emergency Department added in a letter to the tribunal: ‘Dr Maarij was caught unaware and he hit the lady immediately in what appeared to be a reflex manoeuvre.’
MPTS chairman Damian Cooper said there there was insufficient evidence to prove Maarij was angry at the time of the incident and cleared him of saying ‘come here’ to Patient A in the moments before he hit her.
He added: ‘Witnesses had either seen Dr Maarij strike the blow, seen the motion of his arm, or heard the sound of the blow being struck to Patient A’s head such that it was sufficiently audible above the noise of department.
‘Dr B’s evidence was that Dr Maarij was hit twice, first quite hard and then secondly with a glancing blow. Given that Dr Maarij was engaged in his work in a busy and quite noisy department, and was facing away from the approaching Patient A, the Tribunal was satisfied that Dr Maarij was taken by surprise.
Dr Maarij was ‘in shock’ and acted ‘out of instinct’ when he struck a patient in May 2018, a disciplinary hearing ruled on Tuesday, three years after he lost his job at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Kent
‘She hit Dr Maarij hard enough to warrant him raising his hands and holding his head.
‘Dr B explained that the incident took place in “one or two seconds” whilst a colleague described the incident as happening in the “blink of an eye” and that he considered Dr Maarij’s reaction to have been “like an instinctive thing”.
‘This was an unprovoked attack on a doctor carrying out his duties in a busy department and considered that this would have been a very shocking incident for Dr Maarij.
‘There was no “brawl” between Dr Maarij and Patient A and the Tribunal was not persuaded that Dr Maarij taking a step forward towards Patient A was itself indicative that hitting her was a deliberate act.
‘Mr C made reference to separating Dr Maarij and Patient A, where as Dr B describes Mr C as standing in between Dr Maarij and Patient A.
‘But the Tribunal was of the view that Mr C had intervened simply in order to de-escalate the situation.’
He added: ‘An allegation that a doctor had deliberately struck a patient is a serious allegation but the was of the view that Dr Maarij was in shock following the unprovoked and unexpected attack from behind by Patient A.
‘His immediate reaction had been to hold his head, turn and lash out. The incident began and was over extremely quickly.
‘The Tribunal was not satisfied that it had seen sufficient evidence that Dr Maarij had retaliated as part of a conscious intention to do so, as opposed to an unconscious immediate reaction to being hit.’
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