Senior heart doctor Dr Dylmitr Rittoo outside his Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing in Manchester yesterday
A senior heart doctor filmed a junior colleague belly dancing during a work night out and then sent her the video of it with the message: ‘I watch this every night before bed,’ a tribunal has heard.
Dr Dylmitr Rittoo, 59, allegedly left the unsuspecting woman ‘mortified’ after taking footage of her being given dance tuition during a staff leaving party before messaging the film via WhatsApp.
The woman, a foundation year one doctor known as Dr A, claimed she was subjected to inappropriate compliments or contact by the consultant cardiologist while working at Arrowe Park Hospital in Upton on the Wirral in Merseyside.
Over four months Dr Rittoo – who had worked at the hospital for 17 years – sent the woman links to his favourite Bollywood movies invited her to go holiday with him to Mauritius and would say how ‘stunningly beautiful’ she was.
The woman sent professional replies to his work emails but Rittoo fired back with the message: ‘OMG! You have discovered the reply icon on email!
‘To celebrate I rushed out to the nearest temple to give thanks to the gods and then went to Liverpool to splash out on a new BMW. ‘Smile Face’ happy’.’
Later it was alleged in one incident that he cupped her face in his hand while they were carrying out an ultrasound scan on a patient and then kissed her on the left cheek during a ward round.
The unnamed medic was initially too scared to complain about Rittoo due to his seniority but he was eventually reported to senior colleagues at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Rittoo arrives with a woman for the hearing at the MPTS tribunal in Manchester yesterday
This came after he allegedly sat down next to Dr A at a table and wrapped his legs around hers, before saying: ‘I don’t want you to do my research projects anymore.’
It was claimed the consultant had also been rude to two male colleagues, shouting at them about patient diagnoses and telling one: ‘Guidelines are made for people like you and to keep people safe from people like you.
‘They do not apply to experts like me. You talk too much, you never shut up, that’s why you don’t improve.’
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester was told the incidents involving Dr A occurred between April and August 2015 after she was sent to the hospital on a placement.
Georgina Goring, lawyer for the General Medical Council, said: ‘She met Dr Rittoo and he asked if she wanted to be involved in his research projects and asked her for her mobile telephone number and email address.
‘Dr A went along with it, given he was a consultant and she didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot. It began with a few WhatsApp messages and then sending her links to Bollywood songs via email.
‘Some emails included comments such as ‘one of my favourite songs’, ‘will I be in your prayers forever’ and ‘who knows what can happen at 3am in a nightclub’.
‘Dr A’s responses were always polite and professional throughout this conduct – her position remained the same, she felt it would be impolite to ignore his communications given his seniority and her position within the department.
Dr Rittoo, who had worked at the hospital for 17 years,. denies sexually motivated misconduct
‘During her placement, the cardiology department had gone to a dance evening as part of a leaving party. Dr Rittoo took a video including Dr A being taught some belly dancing.
‘He then sent the video to her saying ‘I watch this every night before bed.’ She was mortified to receive this message. She attempted to laugh this off but had concerns as to whether he had sent this in a sexual context and she felt embarrassed.’
In a series of messages, Rittoo said: ‘I enjoyed the party last night. Being dragged from Mistress Troponin was not so bad and I noticed that you were in good form.
‘Your belly dancing was captured on video! I will show you the angiogram when I am happy that my secrets are safe with you! Who knows what can happen at 3am in a nightclub!’
Miss Goring added: ‘He would always pick her to go on his ward rounds and these were always prolonged. They would chat about other things such as each other’s families.
‘He would make comments about her appearance and said they should go on holiday together and said she would need to go to his house for an important piece of information.
‘Dr A recalls a further incident where he had asked her to check a patient and he reached over the patient and cupped her face and chin with his hand. The patient had her back to both doctors at the time.
‘Dr A describes how she froze and just let it happen she tried to ignore what was happening at that stage.
The woman claimed she was subjected to inappropriate compliments while working at Arrowe Park Hospital in Upton on the Wirral in Merseyside
‘She described how Dr Rittoo’s behaviour began to escalate and he would put his hand round her shoulder pulling her into him and kissing her on her left cheek. She would pretend it hadn’t happened and carried on until she reported it later that day.
‘She then went to the canteen with two colleagues, Dr Rittoo came over to their table and sat down when they were discussing their plans for the weekend and she was going to see her boyfriend’s parents.
‘The other doctors left and Dr A tried to get up to leave but she found Dr Rittoo had wrapped his legs around her legs under the table.
‘She tried to pull her legs away but was unable to and he said ‘I don’t want you to do my research projects anymore.’ She was feeling scared but told Dr Rittoo ‘that was fine’.
‘He then said: ”I was only joking, I just wanted to upset you because you upset me’. She felt trapped, worthless and scared he had done this in public and she felt the situation had become dangerous.
‘She was only half way through her placement. She told her father and her boyfriend’s parents she then reported it to a senior female doctor.
‘At that stage she didn’t want to escalate her complaints as she felt a duty to her patients and she didn’t want him to lose his job as there would be a shortage of doctors.
‘She couldn’t say no to him as he was her senior. She simply wanted to get her head down and pretend it wasn’t happening.
Dr Rittoo has claimed that his ‘communications were banter with Dr A’, the tribunal heard
‘Sometime after this had been reported Dr Rittoo approached Dr A and sat next to her in a ward bay and he was blocking her way. She was unable to leave and even though she told him she had to go, he continued to block her exit.
‘He knew he was in a position of power and seniority and was abusing his position. Dr A describes classic feelings of these types of situations.
‘She would feel favoured and then had further feelings of being scared and trapped and unable to complain about Dr Rittoo due to his seniority.’
‘Dr Rittoo’s account was that his communications were banter with Dr A and he didn’t send anything intentionally inappropriate.
‘He denied in it’s entirety the canteen incident when he wrapped his legs around Dr A’s legs and denied cupping her face during the ultrasound process.
‘He was distressed by the sexual harassment allegations and went on to deny there was any shouting incidents with any male colleagues.
‘He said all the emails were related to work and that he and Dr A were very best friends and a bit of banter wasn’t unusual.
‘He denied there had been any peck on the cheek. He said it was normal to communicate with colleagues using text messages, WhatsApp and emails.’
Rittoo, from Bromborough on the Wirral, denies sexually motivated misconduct. The hearing continues.