Doctor cut lip of Harlequins winger Tom Williams

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Dr Wendy Chapman
Image caption,
Dr Wendy Chapman was suspended from her post at Maidstone Hospital in Kent last September

A doctor has admitted cutting the lip of Harlequins rugby player Tom Williams to enable the winger to pretend to be injured during a Heineken Cup match.

A General Medical Council (GMC) panel has been told how Williams became "extremely panicked" after he bit into a fake blood capsule and was challenged about the authenticity of his "injury".

He then asked Dr Wendy Chapman to cut him and she agreed, the panel was told.

The "Bloodgate" incident allowed a goal-kicker to be brought on the pitch.

Dr Chapman, who was suspended from her post as a consultant at Kent's Maidstone Hospital last September, is appearing before the GMC to face allegations her conduct was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.

Her counsel told the hearing that she had made the incision using a stitch-cutter because the player wanted to demonstrate a "real injury".

Harlequins were trailing 6-5 against Leinster during the Heineken Cup quarter-final tie at the Stoop, Twickenham, when Williams bit the fake blood capsule.

The deceit engineered a "blood replacement", which allowed a substituted specialist kicker back on to the field in the closing minutes of the tie in April 2009.

Dr Chapman, who the panel was told is recovering from a breast cancer operation, has admitted the majority of the charges.

She has also admitted failing to tell a European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary hearing that she had caused the lip injury. She was cleared of any wrongdoing by the ERC.

The tribunal heard that she also conceded she had told the player he had a loose tooth - which Williams denied - in front of match officials.

However, Dr Chapman said her intention was not to deceive others and she denies misconduct in relation to why she said Williams had a loose tooth.

Opening the case for the GMC, Michael Hayton said of the use of the capsule: "This was cheating to get the best kicker back on to the field.

"Tom Williams played a part in it. Dean Richards (Harlequins director of rugby) played a part in it. Dr Wendy Chapman did not.

Image caption,
Tom Williams was banned from rugby for four months

"It is not the case of the General Medical Council that she was party to the planning and the carrying out of the cheating. She had no knowledge or active participation in it."

Her role came in the immediate aftermath of the blood replacement when she attended to Williams on the treatment table, the hearing was told.

Mr Hayton said: "The doctor examined Tom Williams and said he had a loose tooth in the presence of others.

"Then at the request of the player she cut his lip with a stitch cutter to cause an injury.

"Dr Chapman has admitted that the purpose was to justify his replacement."

Mary O'Rourke, representing Dr Chapman, said Williams was the doctor's friend as well as a patient.

She said Williams was "panicky and agitated" because he knew he had been "rumbled" by Leinster and match officials were making inquiries.

Ms O'Rourke said he then "begged or beseeched" the doctor to cut him.

'Initially against it'

Ms O'Rourke told Williams: "She was in fact made a victim by your actions because you brought her into it, or you dragged her into it."

Williams said: "I asked her at least twice. I may have said: 'You have got to cut my lip'.

"Dr Chapman was initially completely against it and then I think Dr Chapman came around to the idea and reluctantly went along with it."

Dr Chapman is scheduled to give evidence on Tuesday morning.

Richards was banned for three years by the European Rugby Cup (ERC) and the club was fined £259,000.

It emerged that he had ordered fake blood injuries on four other occasions and orchestrated the "Bloodgate" cover-up.

Williams was initially barred from the game for 12 months, a ban that was reduced to four months after he admitted using the capsule.

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