Genital photo surgeon Erik Scholten has suspension lifted

A plastic surgeon suspended for photographing a female patient's genitalia on his phone without her consent has been allowed back to work.

Dr Erik Scholten took the image last February while working at the Fitzwilliam Hospital in Peterborough.

He was suspended for 18 months by the General Medical Council (GMC) in April pending investigation.

Following a High Court ruling the GMC has allowed the surgeon to return to work, but under strict conditions.

Dr Scholten applied to the High Court to have his suspension lifted, calling it "disproportionate".

The conditional registration order, in force until October, includes that Dr Scholten must also not undertake consultations with female patients without a chaperone present and refrains from photographing female genitalia without consent.

The court heard the plastic surgeon took the photograph of a patient, who had been anaesthetised, when he was about to replace her breast implants.

He then became "intrigued" by the appearance of an intimate part of her anatomy and took a picture without her permission.

'No harm'

A ward matron found out about the unauthorised image and confronted Dr Scholten. He apologised and wrote to the patient insisting the image was taken with the best intentions regarding her "care pathway", the hearing was told.

Dr Scholten said in the letter: "I am always adding to my portfolio of different female genitalia to show prospective patients and I was hoping, with your consent, to do so with yours.

"I would have discussed this with you and, of course, had you objected, I would have disposed of the imagery immediately."

The hospital suspended Dr Scholten from practising there in March last year finding he was in breach of good medical practice in failing to respect the patient's dignity and his actions had the potential to bring the hospital into disrepute.

At the High Court, his lawyer, Clodagh Bradley, argued the incident was isolated and there was no evidence of any risk of harm to patients.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites