‘Stressed’ A&E doctor threatened to ‘snap patient’s jaw’ after they spat at him

An A&E doctor under pressure at work was disciplined after threatening to "snap the jaw" of a patient who spat at him.

Dr Mark Banks, who was employed by Royal Liverpool Hospital, also had been more than double the drink-drive limit on three of his four previous convictions.

The doctor was hauled before a hearing of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) for the drink-driving and threatening incidents, as well as another occasion when he refused to refer a patient to the Mental Health Crisis Team.

The MPTS didn't strike Dr Banks off the medical register or suspend him but instead imposed conditions on his licence to practise as a doctor, writes the Liverpool Echo.

The tribunal, which publishes its decision this month, heard Dr Banks – who also works as a medical officer for the British Boxing Board of Control – was working in the emergency department on June 17.

It was then when a long-term patient suffering from hepatitis B spat at him, and Dr Banks "responded immediately".

The ruling said: "During the course of their interaction, Patient B spat at Dr Banks.

"By way of immediate response, Dr Banks said to Patient B that he would 'snap his jaw' if he did that again or words to that effect and raised his clenched fist, drawn back, when facing Patient B."

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Dr Banks was also the subject of a complaint from the partner of a man, referred to as Patient A, who had attempted suicide on June 1 that year, at the time.

He was discharged from hospital three days later but returned on June 6 after his GP referred him to Royal Liverpool Hospital's A&E department, after complaining about pain and vomiting blood.

The GP also wrote a letter asking for Patient A to be referred to the Mental Health Crisis Team due to "suicidal ideation".

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Patient A was seen by Dr Banks, who dismissed his problems as related to the "abuse of alcohol", and did not refer him to the Crisis Team.

The patient was discharged but returned two more times and on the third was referred by an "experienced nurse", which Dr banks "challenged" and accused the Crisis Team of "pandering" to the patient.

Dr Banks also crashed a private ambulance into a wall in North Wales and was found to be over the double drink driving limit, after which he told police he had drunk a "third of a bottle of whiskey but felt fine to drive".

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He was later sentenced to a community order, curfew monitoring with an electronic tag, and banned from driving for 42 months, after admitting drink driving at Caenafron Magistrates' Court.

The tribunal heard Dr Banks had written apologies to both patients and described his conviction as "appalling".

Lee Gledhill, representing the doctor who had worked in emergency medicine for 17 years, told the panel Dr Banks "had been the subject of an unpleasant assault" and had reacted "in the heat of the moment".

He also made submissions about his client's health, which were not disclosed in the ruling.

Dr Banks must abide by a number of conditions over the next two years, including notifying the General Medical Council (GMC) of any new post and limiting any private work if asked by the GMC.

A spokesman for Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Royal, said: “We note the GMC’s decision and Dr Banks continues to be employed by the Trust in line with the conditions required by the GMC.”

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