‘Bloodgate’

The name given to the Rugby Union scandal which took place on 12 April 2009 during the quarter final of the Heineken Cup between the English team Harlequins and the Irish side Leinster.

It was during this match that Harlequins wing Tom Williams came off the field with blood pouring from his mouth. It became apparent that this supposed injury was in fact faked, the blood being caused by the use of blood capsules. It appears this was done in order to make a vital substitution.

It was also discovered during an investigation by the European Rugby Cup (ERC) and Rugby Football Union (RFU) that such ‘injuries’ had been faked by Harlequins on a number of occasions in the past.

One of the individuals at the centre of the scandal in question was Dr Wendy Chapman, who worked as Harlequins club doctor. It was discovered that she had cut the lip of the player Tom Williams in an attempt to cover up the faked injury by trying to make it look genuine. As a result of this she was temporarily suspended from her duties. The continuation of the suspension depended on the outcome made by the General Medical Councils disciplinary panel.

However, the panel of the GMC held on Tuesday 31st of August that Dr Wendy Chapman could return to medicine, having found that her fitness to practise was not impaired. Had the panel found that her fitness to practise had been impaired she could have been struck off the medical register.

Whilst discussing Dr Chapman’s role in the scandal the disciplinary panel pointed out that: “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 took place directly after the events of the main controversy.

Harlequins winger Tom Williams was questioned during the hearing by Mary O’Rourke, who was representing Wendy Chapman. O’Rourke made the claim that Dr Chapman was in fact a victim of Mr. Williams’ actions because he dragged her into the dishonest plot. Mr. Williams admitted this was a fair assessment.

However the GMC highlighted Wendy Chapman’s dishonest behaviour in relation to the fact she had previously not mentioned the lip cutting incident whilst being questioned by the ERC. The panel pointed out that her actions gave her profession a negative image.

Yet, the Chairman of the panel Brian Alderman noted that before the incident she was suffering from severe depression. It was also pointed out that she had been awaiting the results of tests for breast cancer, as well as recovering from cancer surgery. He went on to say that had it not been for her particular state of mind she would not have acted in the way that she did.

Furthermore, the panel proclaimed that she was not a risk to the public, or her patients. He pointed out that “The panel accepts that there is a public interest in retaining the services of a good doctor”.

Concluding the enquiry on the 1st September 2010, the GMC issued a warning to the club doctor Dr Wendy Chapman in relation to her role the scandal.

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