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Coddington’s Liberty Belle

Coddington’s Liberty Belle

How did you meet your wife? Husband? Soul mate, significant other (as the psychiatrists say these days), life partner? For your sake, I hope it wasn’t over the water cooler at work.

If you’re a lawyer, I hope Mr Right didn’t walk into your office one day seeking legal advice. You discussed precedents, legislation, cases, fees and bling! Your eyes met over the affidavits and you were gone by lunchtime.

Meeting the love of your life in your capacity as a working person is now – thanks to a recent ruling from the Health & Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson – an occupational hazard.

Dr B (as we know him) has been smacked for “acting inappropriately” because he “did not fulfil his ethical responsibilities” to Mrs A, his ex-wife. Why? Because the poor man fell in love and married her.

She was a patient and went to see him. He ‘had feelings for her’ and they went out for dinner. He then arranged for her to see another doctor and had her medical records transferred. Three weeks later they made love and some months later, in 2002, they married.

But it would end in tears. Before the year’s end they had separated and, as hell hath no fury, she laid a complaint against him for having a sexual relationship with her and marrying her.

As Charlie Brown would say, Good Grief! Has the world gone entirely mad? Why does the Health & Disability Commissioner not consign this sort of personal vendetta to the waste paper basket? From the media report, there was no evidence this Dr B used his position as a doctor to take advantage of this woman. She accused him of examining her and declaring her breasts, “gorgeous, just gorgeous”. He says he was referring to a scar. But these two were obviously attracted to one another. What was he meant to say about her body? Hideous, just hideous?

Maybe his reputation would be intact today if he had used insulting words. Then again, she probably would have found some taxpayer-funded victim-culture-oriented, take no responsibility for your actions, panel of censorians to pass judgement against the man.

Ron Paterson (H&DC) said Dr B had crossed the line beyond occasional minor prescribing for a family member when he arranged repeat prescriptions for his wife, something, apparently, that many GPs do. GPs who don’t have vindictive wives, perhaps.

Paterson also ruled it “extremely unwise” for Dr B to begin a sexual relationship just three weeks after his professional relationship with Mrs A officially ended. Okay, so how long should Dr B have waited? Three months? Three years?
In truth, three hundred years would not have been long enough because we are dealing with a woman intent on revenge. The fact that the H&DC (a product of the Cartwright Inquiry and subsequent witch-hunts against male doctors) is prepared to treat such a complaint seriously gives bitter people licence to professionally hurt someone who they believe has personally hurt them.

These were two consenting adults who entered into what initially was a loving relationship. There was no force. He didn’t rape her. It appears that he even tried to do the honourable thing and advised her to find another doctor so their relationship could develop.

Then when things went sour, she, as his ex-wife, laid a complaint against him. Would the complaint have been laid if they’d remained together in wedded bliss? I doubt it.

This is not the first time such an event has occurred. In Auckland several years ago, a brilliant family doctor who never hesitated to be called out of bed in the dead of night to visit patients, was struck off because of a vindictive, jilted lover. He was foolish to have an affair with her, but her foolishness turned to insanity when she began inflicting physical harm on herself just so he would rush to stitch her wounds back together.

These women let the side down. Life is hard. Bad things happen. But if you don’t take risks, you won’t find happiness – be that in the workplace, offices of professionals, parties or nightclubs.

And women will never be truly liberated if they refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

Yours in Liberty
Deborah Coddington

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