Consultant Dominic McCreadie, 64, used his right hand to hit the 66-year-old in the face after he lost his temper when the pensioner began struggling violently and swearing at him whilst receiving treatment.
The unnamed patient, who had been flailing his arms around whilst being given an injection, was said to have “calmed down” after being slapped.
But McCreadie was reported by a junior colleague who witnessed the incident and described the medic’s actions as “inappropriate”. He was subsequently quizzed by police under caution and during an interview with officers admitted: “I accept that I was frustrated and exasperated by this patient.”
At a fitness to practise hearing of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, McCreadie, formerly of Glasgow, now of Warwick, agreed to “voluntary erasure” from the General Medical Council register after being found guilty of misconduct.
Panel chairman Dr Linda Buchanan said: “Dr McCreadie was faced with a difficult patient and this was a one-off single incident in a long career with no previous complaints or concerns. However, striking a patient at any time and in any circumstances is a breach of the fundamental tenant of the profession to make the care of one’s patient one’s first concern.
“Dr McCreadie’s striking of the patient was a single aberration in an otherwise long and unblemished career and there is nothing before the panel to suggest that the patient suffered any actual injury.”
The slap occurred in October 2012 after the patient, who was suffering from “acute confusion” was admitted to the A&E department at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, West Midlands.
He was intially seen by a nurse and trainee medic Dr Aliakbhar Mohamedbhai in a cubicle but senior colleague Dr McCreadie – who had announced the previous year of his intentions to retire – was asked to intervene when attempts to give the patient an injection failed due to him being “physically resistant”.
Chris Hamlet, on behalf of the General Medical Council, told the Medical Practitioners Tribanal Service in Manchester: “Dr McCreadie slapped the patient across the face while assessing and managing an acutely confused patient who had become verbally abusive and was resisting attempts to examine him.
“The patient had become verbally aggressive and physically resistant and Dr Mohamedbhai assisted in restraining the patient’s left arm in order to gain access. Access was achieved and Dr McCreadie went on to conduct an examination of the patient but it appeared to provoke another outburst of offensive language and physical resistance.
“Dr McCreadie, in response to that, struck the patient across the face in a slapping motion.”
Dr McCreadie, who graduated at the University of Glasgow in 1975, denied slapping the patient, instead insisting he held the man’s mouth shut in a form of restraint to “keep him quiet”.
In a statement, he said: “I am informed this has been interpreted as slapping the patient. Whilst understanding how it might look, I certainly did not slap the patient but did try to restrain him and stop his shouting.”