Married King’s College kidney doctor ‘left patient in tears’

Married King’s College kidney doctor ‘left patient in tears after hounding her with flirty phone calls and trying to meet her in a pub while she was attempting to give up alcohol’

  • Kidney specialist at the hospital in London, Iain MacDougall, 58, professed to being a ‘bit infatuated’ with the woman and allegedly asked her out for a drink 
  • He called the patient whilst she was attempting to give up alcohol
  • In one exchange he admitted: ‘You’re more than just banter. If I was single and you were single I would have asked you out on a date. I fancied you.’ 
  • He admits phone calls to patient A but denied sexually motivated misconduct 

Kidney specialist at the hospital in London, Iain MacDougall, 58, professed to being a ‘bit infatuated’ with the woman and allegedly asked her out for a drink

A married King’s College kidney doctor has been accused of leaving a patient in tears after hounding her with flirty phone calls and trying to meet her in a pub while she was attempting to give up alcohol.

Kidney specialist at the hospital in London, Iain MacDougall, 58, professed to being a ‘bit infatuated’ with the woman and allegedly asked her out for a drink.     

The Professor of Clinical Nephrology at King’s College Hospital and Professor in Nephrology at the university itself called the patient whilst she was attempting to give up alcohol, and said: ‘You kind of slightly got under my skin – you should take it as a massive compliment that you attract doctors.’

In one exchange he admitted: ‘You’re more than just banter. If I was single and you were single I would have asked you out on a date and we would go for dinner in a fantasy world. I fancied you, I liked you.’

During the conversations the unnamed woman, known only as Patient A, told MacDougall she was attempting to complete a detoxification programme and told him she did not want to go to pubs or have a relationship.

She was left in tears by the calls and told the doctor’s colleagues at the historic public research hospital. Tragically she died later in unrelated circumstances.

It emerged during the phone calls, a neighbour of the woman taped recorded one of the conversations. Further inquiries revealed the doctor had left two voicemails on her phone totalling 65 minutes long.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester was told the calls began after Patient A had been treated by MacDougall for undisclosed condition on June 16 2016. Over the following two weeks he phoned three times in three days and also left two voicemails. 

The woman told her next-door neighbour known as TP about one of the calls and the neighbour arrived at the patient’s home to find her upset and in drink.

A further call subsequently made by the professor to Patient A was taped by TP and was played to the disciplinary panel. MacDougall held his head in his hands as the conversation went:

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Patient A: ‘If you really really fancied me, you should have stopped, you’re a married man, I have never been with a married man.’

Prof: ‘I fancied you, I’m going to be honest, I was infatuated by you. I would like to see you.’

Patient A: ‘I know you say you’re sorry, and you should be. I don’t want to be involved with anybody. I’m not involved with you yet you call me, be careful, you don’t know anything about me. You don’t ever ask about me, it’s always been about you. I want to detox I don’t want to drink anymore.

‘I rang my daughter and my son and I told them I am really scared because some doctor had been ringing me. Do you know what my daughter said, she said: ‘Oh he’s probably just ringing you up for a date.’ I don’t think that’s appropriate. I was scared, I was frightened. That wasn’t nice what you did..’

Prof: ‘I apologise for that.’

Patient A – ‘You just took your doctor hat off. I don’t go in any pubs, I do not want to see you. What have you done, (crying audibly on the phone) what have you done.’

The Professor of Clinical Nephrology at King’s College Hospital and Professor in Nephrology at the university itself called the patient whilst she was attempting to give up alcohol, and said: ‘You kind of slightly got under my skin – you should take it as a massive compliment that you attract doctors’

The woman then hung up but MacDougall rang back saying: ‘I want to help you.. You’re a lovely person, I quite like you.’

Patient A said: ‘I was bobbing along in my life, enjoying time with my granddaughter, I was fine, I was really really well, I had come back from all the sh*t that happened in my life.

‘Nobody had a bad word to say about me and I didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody else. I was vulnerable, it’s not on, you abused your profession as a doctor, you abused your position. I was really vulnerable (crying audibly).’

Prof: ‘I’m really sorry, I realise now I realise that now, I did not realise you were so vulnerable at that time.

‘I thought stupidly I could have had banter with you or you could have had banter with me. I did not realise, you came across as incredibly confident.. I’m not going to do anything.

‘I’m going to be a doctor to you and that’s it. I am really sorry. I will help you. You attract doctors, you should take it as a massive compliment that you attract doctors.

‘You probably attract a lot of men and they can’t get near you because you are never ever going to commit yourself to somebody. I didn’t want to get emotionally involved with you and I don’t want you to get emotionally involved with me.’

MacDougall who was educated in Glasgow was recognised in 2016 by the Royal College of Physicians and National Institute for Health Research for his ‘outstanding research leadership in the NHS’.

During the conversation the doctor took another phone call but returned and said: ‘I was very attracted to you. What sort of medication do you want, tell me what you want. You’re going to need a lot of support and I will help you.’

Patient A replied: ‘I’m shaking, I’m in detox and I’m shaking. I want to detox and I want to get well, I want my children to see me well again. I don’t want to keep drinking, I want to detox. If you knew anything about alcoholism, you would know how hard it is. I don’t get into relationships, I don’t want to.’ 

A colleague at the hospital received a phone call from Patient A complaining about the professor in which she sounded ‘upset and tearful.’ The calls were then reported to the clinical director.

Miss Vanstone added: ‘She recalls Patient A was angry and upset. She said he had asked her for a drink and he telephoned her when he was in his own home. She said the phone call was out of order.

‘Patient A told another Doctor that Prof MacDougall was flirting with her, and that he was infatuated with her. She said she didn’t want any further contact with the professor but she said she didn’t want to pursue with the complaint because she didn’t feel strong enough to do so.’

‘A doctor who spoke with Patient A on July 1 reported that she said he was flirting with her on the phone and he asked her to meet up. The doctor said seemed very upset and angry about these interactions. The doctor spoke with Patient A On 4th and 12th July and after that she tried to make contact with he on two further occasions. Soon after she found out she had died.

‘To make this clear in a public hearing, GMC do not say his actions contributed to or caused in any way, Patient A’s death. But the tribunal must consider the doctor patient status and the nature of the conversation which took place between these two individuals.

‘It was clear from the comments made by Prof MacDougall that he fancied her. He told her that he couldn’t help that he thought she was sexy.’

MacDougall who was educated in Glasgow was recognised in 2016 by the Royal College of Physicians and National Institute for Health Research for his ‘outstanding research leadership in the NHS’.

He admits making the phone calls to patient A but denied sexually motivated misconduct. 

He said: ‘I was desperately trying to keep her ok. I enjoyed that conversation, I felt I had a benefit from it and I thought she felt a benefit from it too but the comments I made were because I cared about her. I wanted to try and boost her up again.

‘To me they were banter, to me they had no meaning behind them. I had no sexual gratification from this. I didn’t want a sexual relationship. I was concerned about her.

‘These are flattering comments I made to her. As she was vulnerable I thought I could help her. I didn’t think at the time it could harm her or harm me. I stupidly thought bantering with her would help her. I should have put the patient first. I’m very sorry.’

The hearing continues. 

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