A hospital worker may be declared unfit to practise medicine after a series of messages sent through Twitter came to light. Paul Nam, under the pseudonym ‘Sir Cockhardt’, a former United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust worker, tweeted such comments as, “I was going to save the pubes from the first patient I shaved today and stick them on [Bradley] Wiggins-style”, “working in gynae theatres AGAIN today. I’m seriously considering going gay! The thought of looking at one more aged flange” and “Mr vagina-rage you are such a bell end”.
Mr Nam, an operating theatre practitioner, apologised to his employer at the time he was first confronted in 2012, but now faces disciplinary action from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In the hearing, Mr Nam has stated how ashamed he feels and has acknowledged the stupidity of his actions. His behaviour has been put down to his “frustration” about his “limited career progression” at the Trust. He said that using Twitter was a way of “blowing off steam” for staff who felt unable to approach managers over concerns they had, which suggests that the practice may be more widespread. This may allude further to acts that might be considered ‘whistleblowing’, but no further information has been presented on this point other than his statement that during his six years at the hospital there had been incidents that gave him “a great deal of concern”.
Mr Nam has also clarified that in relation to his comments about using pubic hair to style his own tribute to the Olympic cycling hero, “there was no actual patient, it was just a joke around Wiggins’ sideburns” and that there was a culture amongst his colleagues of insulting one another.
More serious incidents included his posting a photograph of the Trust executive team with a specific comment relating to one member (“Bunch of Vandals except top right, No, he’s a complete *******”) and the posting of a photograph of a theatre list showing the names of surgeons, anaesthetists and procedures and commenting “think yourself lucky your (sic) not doing my list”.
Nam admitted posting the tweets and further acts of misconduct. He was suspended from his position in September 2012. It is now up to the HCPC panel to determine whether his misconduct has impaired his fitness to practise. More details to follow.