HeadLine: ‘I told my doctor he was a cruel bastard who manipulated me
just for sex’
The Mirror, 30/07/2002, p17
by SHAUN MILNE
A MARRIED doctor had a torrid three-year affair with a bed-ridden
patient, a medical board inquiry heard yesterday.
And, when their relationship ended, one of his colleagues tried to talk
her out of making a complaint to his bosses, it was alleged.
Falkirk GP James Auld admits abusing his professional position by
having regular sex with ME sufferer Deborah Mitchell, 37.
He also admits sending the single mother a “wholly inappropriate”
medical letter filled with sexual innuendoes.
Miss Mitchell wept at yesterday’s disciplinary hearing at the General
Medical Council in London as she described her doctor and former lover
as a “cruel bastard” who had “manipulated and deceived” her.
The hearing heard that Miss Mitchell had a history of depression,
anxiety, insomnia and ME.
But in April 1997 the ME worsened and Dr Auld began home visits after
the mum-of-one took to her bed at home in Falkirk, in Stirlingshire.
The doctor, then aged 41, soon began to have sex with his 33-year-old
patient during these home visits.
At the General Medical Council in London Miss Mitchell broke down
several times as she recalled details of the affair.
Dr Auld refused to look at his former patient, who is still debilitated
by ME, as she gave her evidence from a wheelchair.
The professional conduct committee was told that, between April 1997
and March 1999, Dr Auld, who has since resigned from his Falkirk
practice, made home visits at least once a fortnight and often the pair
would have sex.
By March 1999, Miss Mitchell told the hearing she “couldn’t take it any
more” and ended the relationship, feeling she was being used. But
within three weeks, she rang the doctor again.
She said: “I told him he was a cruel bastard for manipulating me and
being so indifferent after he had cared for me.”
The doctor then visited Miss Mitchell at home and she told the hearing:
“He came to the house and he was shaking like a leaf.
“He said he missed me terribly and couldn’t sleep. He said he wanted to
“He told me he’d nobody else to talk to the way he talked to me.
“I didn’t want him to be frightened that I would divulge the
relationship but that’s what I thought was behind that visit.”
Over the next year-and-a-half, Dr Auld acted as “doctor and friend” to
Miss Mitchell but, in August 2000, he began the sexual relationship
And two months later he sent Deborah a home swab kit for the treatment
of scabies in which he enclosed a sexually explicit letter of
instruction telling Miss Mitchell in graphic detail how to apply the
The hearing was told the doctor signed the notes “love and kisses, JJ.
See you Friday morning”.
By November 2000 the affair was again on the rocks, with Miss Mitchell
saying: “I wanted more from him, I felt tortured.”
She went on tearfully: “I sent a text message saying ‘How could you do
this to me and sleep with your wife?’ and he texted back to say he
didn’t sleep with his wife.”
Asked about the effect the split had on her Miss Mitchell said: “I came
to the realisation that he’d been duplicitous and deceitful.
“I wanted to finish the relationship, but I didn’t want to be left
without a doctor and didn’t want to be left without him.”
Finally a week later Dr Auld put a halt to the affair saying he hoped
he could continue as her doctor.
Deborah recalled: “He phoned and said ‘I can’t go on like this, it’s
torturing me and torturing you, but I still want to be your doctor’.
“I said no way, I couldn’t put myself through that again.”
Later the situation deteriorated when an ex-boyfriend of Miss Mitchell
found out about the affair and assaulted the doctor.
The hearing was told that Deborah then received a visit from another of
the GPs at Dr Auld’s practice in Falkirk – Dr James Stewart.
Dr Stewart is also facing a charge of serious professional misconduct
after it was alleged he tried to dissuade Miss Mitchell from making a
complaint against Dr Auld.
Miss Mitchell told the hearing: “He said Dr Auld would lose his career,
his children would have to return to state school and how could I do
this to him?
“He was basically dissuading me from going to the GMC. He treated me
like scum, he never once asked how I was coping.”
Dr Stewart, from Dunblane, Perthshire, denies trying to influence Miss
Dr Auld, 45, also from Dunblane, admits abusing the doctor patient
relationship but rejects the assertion that Miss Mitchell was bed-bound
by her illness.
The hearing continues.
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