A Sudanese Doctor has appeared before the Irish Medical Council for the second time – after attempting to set a female patient up on a date with his friend.
Dr Eltayeb Elkhabir, 40, attended a hearing into his fitness to practice medicine on Wednesday, the second such time he has been ordered to face the Council.
On this occasion, Dr Elkhabir was accused of telephoning and sending text messages to a female patient in an attempt to set her up with his friend.
He was previously sanctioned in 2008 when he told a patient at St Columcille’s Hospital in Dublin that epilepsy ‘could be seen as a sign of the devil in you and could be caused by sexual activity’.
The Sudan national was ordered to do a course in ethics in 2008 when the Council also heard that he had given his cell phone number to the patient and told her to call him if she wanted to know more about Islam.
The latest enquiry heard that he was ‘over-friendly’ with Sinead Doyle and made her feel uncomfortable when she was admitted to the Hermitage Medical Clinic last May for an MRI scan.
Doyle told the hearing that Dr Elkhabir told her his age and claimed he was from Morocco and also asked about her family and her job, requesting a loan when he learnt she worked in a bank.
When Doyle told him she was 33, he remarked that it was a ‘good age’ and the age that Jesus had died at. He also asked his patient if she was single and seeing anyone.
The doctor had left his job at the Hermitage clinic when he rang Doyle the following month, claiming he was checking up on her and advising her to give up alcohol after tests found her liver enzyme levels were raised.
The physician rang again later that month when he advised Doyle to stay off alcohol forever, then asked her if he could pass her number onto a friend whom he wanted her to meet.
“He was trying to sell me this marriage thing,” Doyle told the enquiry.
Doyle reported the doctor to the Gardai, the hospital and the Medical Council after further calls and text messages.
In his letter of explanation to the Medical Council, Dr Elkhabir wrote: “I’ve tried to help my friend and Ms Doyle to meet as a good couple, as I mentioned this is a very normal step for my religion and in my culture.
“I would be grateful to the people of Ireland and the West to adopt such a nice policy in life as my faith and doctrines support that. If it has not suited Ms Doyle, I am withdrawing this initiative and I’m sure it will be suitable to a lot of other people.”
A father of three who has been working in Ireland since 2001, Dr Elkhabir said his initial conversation with Doyle was intended only to relax her and the request for a bank loan was a ‘joke’.
He felt Doyle had given him permission to contact her as a friend after their consultation and that she was the only patient he had ever contacted.
“I crossed the boundary of a doctor-patient relationship but said that is something I can’t control,” he added.
The Fitness to Practice committee of the Irish Medical Council have reserved judgment in the case.