A medical tribunal has ruled that a Christian doctor, “The Praying Doctor,” “overstepped the boundaries” when he talked about faith and prayed with a patient. However, the doctor was found not guilty of serious misconduct.
A panel of the Medical Practitioners Panel Service heard that Dr. Richard Scott from Margate, England, shared his Christian faith with a weak patient and held their hand while they prayed.
Scott, “The Praying Doctor,” as he’s now called on the internet, who has served as a medic since 1983, also gave the patient a Bible upon leaving Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent.
The 19-year-old patient, who had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the past, went to the doctor’s office with his mother in 2022 after experiencing symptoms of poor mental health. After meeting with Dr. Scott, the teen’s mother made a report about him to NHS England.
The Manchester panel heard that the doctor decided against giving the patient anti-depressants and talked about counseling as a possible treatment before asking for permission to take a “spiritual” approach to the patient’s problems.
The teen told the committee that Dr. Scott’s talk about his Christian faith and the need to “reconnect” with God made him feel “strange” and “uneasy.”
Scott told the court that he doesn’t force anyone to talk about religion, but he does “offer and encourage” people to do so.
The tribunal found that even though the patient agreed to a spiritual discussion, Dr. Scott “crossed the line” into misconduct but “did not cross the high threshold” needed for it to be called serious misconduct.
The panel will think about whether Scott should get a second letter of warning. His first warning came in 2012, after a patient said that the doctor was trying to force his religious beliefs on him.
The General Medical Council (GMC) says that doctors can practice medicine based on their own views as long as they don’t make patients feel bad.
They can’t force or talk about their own political, religious, or moral views on patients in a way that takes advantage of their weakness or is likely to make them upset.
In conclusion, the verdict of not guilty for The Praying Doctor underscores the importance of a fair and thorough examination of all evidence in cases involving professional conduct.
This decision serves as a reminder that justice must be served impartially, and highlights the need for a nuanced approach when assessing the boundaries of faith and medicine in our society.