Health & Lifestyle

Alcoholic A&E doctor who was jailed for string of violent attacks on nurses and police officers gets permanently struck off after pleading to go back to NHS

An alcoholic medic convicted of a string violent attacks, break-ins and drug possession has finally been struck off.

Dr Karen Clark, now in her 40s, was banned from working as doctor in the UK this month after a catalogue of crime, including attacking police officers and nurses.

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) panel said she should be erased from the doctors’ register — officially ending her career — due a lack of any evidence she had changed her behaviour.

The medic was struck off despite her plea during an earlier hearing for another chance to show ‘how much medicine is to me’. 

Dr Clark’s regulatory woes started in 2012, when she worked as an A&E doctor at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

 

Dr Karen Clark has been struck off the UK's medical register after a series of criminal acts dating back to 2012

 Dr Karen Clark has been struck off the UK’s medical register after a series of criminal acts dating back to 2012

The medic has previously detailed how she battled an alcohol addiction and previously pleaded for another chance 'to demonstrate how much medicine is to me'

The medic has previously detailed how she battled an alcohol addiction and previously pleaded for another chance ‘to demonstrate how much medicine is to me’

Pictured: Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where Dr Clark previously worked at the A&E department

Pictured: Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where Dr Clark previously worked at the A&E department

The panel heard how that year she drank alcohol to excess before driving to a car park near her home and falling asleep in the vehicle.

She was then awoken by police and asked to provide a breathalyser test but refused to do so.

Later that year she was fined £400 and disqualified from driving and referred to the medical regulator.

Then in 2015, a year after she last worked as medic, she was imprisoned for nine months for attacking four police officers and four nurses in two incidents just weeks apart.

Just months after her release in 2016, she was convicted of two break-ins, one of which was in a hair-salon.

Cataloguing her offences, the MPTS also noted two separate assaults of police officers, one of which occurred as recently as 2019.

These involved the medic kicking one officer in the leg and striking another in the head.

The panel also detailed that Dr Clark had convictions for threatening behaviour, theft, vandalism and possession of a Class A drug.

Class A drugs are the most dangerous kind of illicit substance and include heroin, ecstasy, LSD and meth.

Dr Clark had admitted to all of these offences.

The MPTS ruling was a follow-up from a hearing held in May this year, in which Dr Clark was given a last chance to remain on the medical register.

At the time, she received a six-month suspension, one of many she had received since she last worked as a medic in 2014.

But she was given nine suggestions from the MPTS on how she could turn things around and avoid being struck off.

She was granted this, in part, because she had recently been a victim of an assault in her home, which the MPTS panel said may have impacted her progress. 

In a statement provided at the time, Dr Clark wrote: ‘I sincerely hope that I will be granted another, even final, chance to demonstrate how much medicine is to me and that I will put my all into recovering and staying in recovery.’

Dr Clark, who graduated from the University of Dundee in 2006, had in the past shared details of her battle with alcoholism. 

However, the panel brought in to review her suspension found she had only completed one of their nine recommendations. 

In its ruling, the MPTS noted: ‘The Tribunal was of the view that Dr Clark had been afforded numerous opportunities by the MPTS Tribunals to demonstrate insight.

‘However, after more than seven years, Dr Clark has failed to address her issues.’ 

They added that the medic still had a risk of repeating the behaviours which had led to her convictions and therefore her fitness to practise was impaired. 

Britain’s medical regulator, the General Medical Council, which brought Dr Clark’s case to the MPTS, said the doctor’s conduct was ‘fundamentally incompatible with continued registration’.

Dr Karen Clark, now in her 40s, was banned from working as doctor after a catalogue of convictions, including attacking police officers and nurses

Dr Karen Clark, now in her 40s, was banned from working as doctor after a catalogue of convictions, including attacking police officers and nurses 

The medic was given a chance in May to avoid being struck off with medical regulators giving her 9 suggestions to demonstrate she was committed to change

 The medic was given a chance in May to avoid being struck off with medical regulators giving her 9 suggestions to demonstrate she was committed to change  

But another tribunal held this month found the medic had only completed one of the 9 suggested changes

But another tribunal held this month found the medic had only completed one of the 9 suggested changes 

In May Dr Clark spoke about the pain of going through regulatory proceedings, stating: 'The feeling of being a disappointment, of never actually getting there, back to medicine, out of the mess of the recent past, and of the mess I have made'

 In May Dr Clark spoke about the pain of going through regulatory proceedings, stating: ‘The feeling of being a disappointment, of never actually getting there, back to medicine, out of the mess of the recent past, and of the mess I have made’

Dr Clark’s representative argued for another period of suspension, claiming the public were equally protected by either ruling. 

But the MPTS was unconvinced, stating that ‘erasure was the only sanction that would be sufficient’ to maintain public confidence in the profession and uphold standards medics are expected to keep. 

In the ruling it noted a ‘persistent lack of insight into the seriousness of her actions and the absence of any evidence from Dr Clark, especially relating to her remediation, despite repeated opportunities.’

Dr Clark provided no new statements as part of the most recent ruling.

However, in May she spoke about how facing multiple proceedings from the medical regulator had been challenging.

‘I can honestly say that it’s what mostly triggers me in the past couple of years,’ she wrote. 

‘The feeling of being a disappointment, of never actually getting there, back to medicine, out of the mess of the recent past, and of the mess I have made.’

Dr Clark has the right to appeal being struck off.

If she chooses to do so her suspension from working as a medic will be maintained. 

After being struck off a person can only apply to be restored to the register after five years. 


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