Suspended doctor laughed off lewd remark allegations as the '˜African way'

A doctor has been suspended for making a series of lewd remarks to a colleague - including asking if she had enjoyed seeing an elderly mental health patient's genitals.
Ribbleton Hospital where Dr Adewale Williams Lawrence formerly workedRibbleton Hospital where Dr Adewale Williams Lawrence formerly worked
Ribbleton Hospital where Dr Adewale Williams Lawrence formerly worked

As well as asking sexually suggestive questions, Dr Adewale Williams Lawrence, who has worked in Preston, put his finger on the more junior doctor’s lips, made rude hand gestures, and pointed to her breasts and made a lurid remark.

Despite being married, Dr Lawrence also told the doctor, named only as ‘Dr A’, that she should have sex with him, a medical tribunal has ruled.

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When challenged over his continued behaviour, the former Ribbleton Hospital doctor laughed and said it was ‘the African way’, the hearing was also told. He has now been suspended for nine months by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. Chairman Debbie Hill told him: “Your conduct towards Dr A was sexually motivated, and you failed to treat her with respect and were wholly inappropriate.

“You have abused your position of trust as Dr A’s senior colleague. This was a working relationship and you were meant to be supporting her.”

The tribunal heard that, between August and December 2014, while he was working on an old age psychiatry unit, Dr Lawrence said Dr A had ‘beautiful lips’ and made inappropriate remarks about her sex life. On one occasion, he followed her down a corridor, the hearing was told, and said: “It’s a nice view. I like walking behind you.”

On another, when Dr A was leaning over, he said, ‘Oh, that’s a good position’, the hearing heard.

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Mrs Hill said: “When Dr A requested you stop asking her inappropriate questions, you inappropriately laughed, told Dr A you were joking...made lewd hand gestures, and told Dr A that ‘friends talk about these things’.”

On another occasion, when Dr A was kneeling to examine a patient’s legs, Dr Lawrence looked down at her chest and told her he ‘liked the view’, before asking why she was covering up her breasts when she began buttoning her cardigan, the tribunal was told.

He then told her he liked looking at them, it was ruled.

Separately, when the pair were working on their computers, the hearing heard Dr Lawrence told his colleague he found her ‘very distracting’, and that his behaviour was ‘the African way’.

“You told Dr A she should not worry about the things you said to her as you would never actually do anything,” Mrs Hill said. “In or around October 2004, you had a discussion with Dr A in which you indicated you would like to be invited to her house, said to her ‘we don’t need me wife and kids to be there, just you and me’, or words to that effect.”

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Dr Lawrence, who has homes in Blackburn and Oxford, denied any wrongdoing and accused Dr A and a colleague of lying.

But the tribunal found the allegations against him to be true and said Dr A had proved to be a convincing witness.

Dr Lawrence earlier admitted calling his colleague ‘good looking’ but denied his comment was inappropriate, though the panel disagreed.

The older adult wards at Ribbleton Hospital, which had 28 mental health inpatient beds, were closed last year, with patients moved to The Harbour in Blackpool.

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A spokesman for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for the hospital, said: “As soon as the concern was brought to our attention, it was raised with the deanery and the doctor’s lead employer, who took appropriate steps. This has now resulted in this significant action by the General Medical Council.”