News, Culture & Society

NHS surgeon told patients to ‘assume the George Michael position’

An NHS surgeon told patients to ‘assume the George Michael position’ whenever he carried out intimate examinations of their bowels, a medical tribunal heard.

Dr Serban Gheorghiu, 59, reportedly made reference to the late singer’s sexuality when he asked patients to get on all fours for colonoscopy treatment.

The married father-of-two also allegedly made crude jokes about ‘never taking women from behind’ and told a male nurse he would take him to Thailand where they could ‘crack the pelvises’ of ‘very small and fragile’ women.

The incidents, between October 2015 and August 2017, began five years after Gheorghiu joined Scarborough General Hospital in North Yorkshire as a colorectal surgeon.

Dr Serban Gheorghiu reportedly made reference to the late singer’s sexuality when he asked patients to get on all fours for colonoscopy treatment at Scarborough General Hospital

He asked one ward sister if she had ‘rough sex’ and referred to fellow doctors as ‘f****** b*******’, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard today.

Peter Atherton, a lawyer for the General Medical Counsel, told the hearing in Manchester: ‘Nurse A, who was a deputy sister, began working at the hospital in October 2015. 

‘Early on in her time in the unit she was concerned and described feeling shocked by what appeared to be Dr Gheorghiu’s unprofessional attitude and behaviours by his sexual innuendos and inappropriate language.

‘She was present on many occasions when he spoke inappropriately towards colleagues or in the presence of patients. She described him causing upset and distress to patients and staff and when she started she was shocked when he said things to a patient in recovery.

‘He told them: “You are now going to have some of this s*** coffee,” referring to the NHS drink offered to patients after procedures. 

‘[The nurse] challenged him and told him he wasn’t allowed to speak in that way and he ignored her, continuing his behaviour like it was funny.’

Mr Atherton also described how the NHS worker overheard Gheorghiu offering to take a male nurse to a brothel.

He said: ‘In December 2016 she heard Dr Gheorghiu speaking with another nurse about taking him to a brothel. She heard him saying to him things like how he would show him how to have a good time, and making offensive comments about cracking and breaking ladies pelvises. 

‘He also regularly said: “I don’t take women from behind” but on one occasion he held a nurse from behind and she felt him pressing against her. She felt shocked and vulnerable and quickly moved away from him.’

The nurse had also heard Gheorghiu ask another sister if she ‘had rough sex last night,’ Mr Atherton said. 

The lawyer also described how the surgeon told another nurse ‘If you’re willing to accept this s*** management then you deserve all the s*** you’re going to get’ after he was barred from taking coffee into theatre.  

Mr Atherton said the surgeon made crude comments about his colleagues’ sex lives which was ‘typical of his behaviour and people just used to laugh it off’.

He said: ‘A male staff nurse said he used to reference the George Michael position when he was treating his patients. This was referring to the fact that George Michael was gay. 

‘Another deputy sister said how she used to apologise to the student nurses for how he was with them and how she found his language to be unprofessional. 

‘She felt it was accepted by other doctors, many of them having a: “That’s just him” attitude.’

Giving evidence, Nurse D, in her 40s, said: ‘He didn’t begin to change his behaviour until March 2017. I believe the catalyst for that was a group of nurses who complained about his clinical behaviour.

‘I found he was quite difficult to work with, I wasn’t part of that group. The allegations are 100 per cent true and absolutely the things he said. I can almost hear him saying them. I’ve known him for seven years, I know what he’s like.

‘I have heard him make the comment about George Michael at least 15 to 20 times, it was quite a common password. 

‘He showed his nastier side when he changed in March. He wouldn’t speak to us at all. There was two extremes and I have never worked with anyone like that before.’

Nurse A, who had been working at the hospital for six weeks before seeking advice about Gheorghiu, said: ‘I couldn’t believe how direct he was talking to colleagues, I didn’t find it funny. 

‘He was using sexual innuendos and abusive language in front of patients.  

‘I have never made any other complaint other than this situation. I found his behaviour to be unprofessional. The culture at that time was just accepting of how he was. It just seemed to fall on deaf ears. 

‘That was just how he was. I definitely heard him using the words “f****** b*******” about some of the other doctors.

‘He was speaking about cracking women’s pelvises in front of patients, he tried to pass it off as banter, but it was not professional and not appropriate.’

Gheorghiu, who is from Cluj-Napoca in Romania but lives in Scarborough, was not present at the hearing – nor was he legally represented.

But in a statement given to the tribunal he claimed there was a ‘vendetta’ against him and said the allegations were either untrue or exaggerated.

He denies allegations of making inappropriate comments, swearing in front of colleagues and pushing himself up against his colleagues. 

The hearing continues.


Comments are closed.