EXPLICIT CONTENT: Stuart Hamilton, a former Isle of Wight Ambulance Service paramedic, has been struck off this week after being found to be impaired to practice by the Health & Care Professionals Council following alleged ‘sexually motivated’ actions against girls as young as 12 that led to a ‘gross abuse of trust’.
Over the last 9 days the HCPC Conduct and Competence Committee has heard and discussed a series of serious allegations against Hamilton at a final hearing held in East Cowes, allegations which he strongly denies and claims are a ‘witch hunt’ against him by former colleagues.
Stuart – known locally as Stuey – was issued an interim suspension order from practicing for a period of 18 months on 11th April 2014 after a series of allegations were made against him following an investigation by the Island’s NHS trust, resulting in him resigning from his post in November 2013. An Isle of Wight NHS Trust disciplinary hearing later formally dismissed the paramedic, who qualified in 2006. He first joined the service in 2000 before qualifying as a ambulance care assistant in 2001 and an ambulance technician in 2002.
Stuey moved to Holme Hale in Norfolk with his wife shortly after and now works as a self-employed photographer and a photographic store assistant.
Allegations put forward to the Committee include that whilst crewing with a colleague, Hamilton is said to have treated a young female patient and removed the patient’s underwear without clinical justification before commenting ’14 year old girl with a shaved pussy’, or words to that effect – Hamilton denies using that word, but admits commenting on the patient’s lack of pubic hair to his colleague.
The hearing, which began on Monday 21st September, also heard how Hamilton is accused of undertaking eleven 12-lead ECGs on young female patients aged 12-23 between 3rd May 2011 and 7th September 2012 which were not necessary and/or clinically justified. He is also said to have undertook a further ECG on a 24-year-old female patient in circumstances that were dangerous to her health, namely it would have led to delay in her being transported to hospital, although this was not found proven.
The Committee today (Friday) concluded that the allegations put forward were so serious and amounted to misconduct that they were left with no option but to strike the trained paramedic from the register. Hamilton formally resigned his registration with the Council ahead of the beginning of the hearing.
Stuart Hamilton denies all the allegations against him and says he was an ‘excellent paramedic’ who was ‘pushed to the brink of suicide’ by the claims. Hamilton claims that NHS bosses are conducting a witch hunt against him.
In a letter to the hearing, Mr Hamilton said:
“I have never conducted any clinical procedure for sexual gratification or sexual motives. Every single procedure I have conducted has always been in the best interests of my patients care. I have never delayed transportation to hospital in a life-threatening situation.
“I never removed any clothing unless it was absolutely necessary. I certainly never would have asked a patient to strip their entire top half off just to conduct an ECG. I always conducted any clinical procedure with the utmost reverence and respect to my patient, and always preserved dignity wherever possible.
“I have no recollection of ever placing an electrode onto a patient’s nipple, however, breasts and nipples come in all shapes and sizes. I would never deliberately place an electrode directly onto a patient’s nipple, however, I have known of occasions where I have not bean able to avoid the areola due to the sheer size of them. If I did place an electrode onto a patient’s nipple then it certainly wouldn’t have been intentional, and it certainly wouldn’t have been for sexual motives.
“To be accused of paedophilia was utterly heart-breaking and soul destroying”.
An investigation was carried out by Hampshire Constabulary, however no charges were brought against Mr Hamilton.
The allegations put forward to the Committee are not only against patients – Hamilton is said to have sent a colleague two picture messages to her mobile phone of his erect penis, although he claims he only sent one, by mistake, in 2003.
Other allegations put forward include:
• Whilst crewing with a colleague Hamilton treated a female patient who was suffering with vaginal bleeding and removed the patient’s clothing from the waist down when that was not necessary, wiped the blood from between the patient’s legs and commented to colleague words to the effect of “she was alright wasn’t she, she had a nice pussy”
• Whilst crewing with a colleague, Hamilton performed an ECG treatment on a female patient and placed an electrode on the nipple of this patient when this was not clinically justified – this was not found proven
• On three separate occasions Hamilton pushed a pair of gloves into a female colleague’s crotch while they were driving an ambulance
• Hamilton performed ECG treatments on female patients and asked them to remove their clothing from the waist upwards and/or removed their clothing from the waist upwards without the clinical need to do so and/or without preserving their privacy and dignity and did not wear gloves during the procedure
• Whilst crewing with a colleague, Hamilton treated a female patient who was suffering from vaginal bleeding and in treating the patient wiped the blood from between her legs
• After treating a female patient, Hamilton commented to a colleague “she was more hairy than me”
• After treating a female patient, Hamilton commented to a colleague “did you see the hairs on her nipples”
• Whilst crewing with a colleague Hamilton treated a female patient, who expressed a need to go to the toilet. He removed the patient’s clothing from the waist down when that was not necessary
In a statement issued, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s Alan Sheward, executive director nursing, has said:
“The trust’s view is the professional practice of this former paramedic was wholly inappropriate.. His actions in relation to colleagues were also inappropriate. That is why he was referred to the HCPC.
“These issues came to light following an audit of his clinical practice, something which is routinely and regularly undertaken for all ambulance personnel.
“The paramedic involved was suspended from work as soon as the concerns were raised. He resignesd from the service before the disciplinary process could be completed.
“We have reviewed the notes of all patients involved. There is no evidence that, despite the inappropriate actions, patients were harmed.
“It is clear to us that, in this instance, one of our employees has broken the trust we and patients place in staff and I want to apologise for any distress this has caused.”