Dr Wendy Chapman is unemployed and risks utter disgrace including removal from the register of medical practitioners because a cheating thug — Tom Williams — screamed into her face in a dressing-room full of pumped-up, aggressive Harlequins players. Wendy Chapman, who was recovering from breast cancer surgery and suffering severe depression, should never have been put in that position by Harlequins management.
The man who orchestrated the cheating, Dean Richards, got a three-year ban from coaching. The 25-year-old thug who intimidated the doctor.got a 3-month ban, while Wendy Chapman, who had no part in the plan to cheat Leinster out of the Heineken Cup quarter final, faces ruin.
How and why did such a thing come about?
For those who don’t remember the game, Harlequins needed to get a specialist kicker on the field late in the match, to try and snatch a late victory. They needed their main kicker, Nick Evans of New Zealand, who had gone off injured earlier, but the only way to get him back was as a replacement for a blood injury. Tom Williams was the man designated to have that blood injury.
So what happened?
We know that Williams bit into a joke blood capsule, and we know that Professor Arthur Tanner, the Leinster team doctor, instantly spotted that it was a fake. We know that Williams, the dimwit, was caught on video winking as he left the field. We know that the match officials, including respected referee Nigel Owens, refused to listen to Tanner’s protests, which deserves an inquiry in itself to establish their motivations. We know that when Tanner tried to get into the Harlequins dressing room to examine the injury, as he was entitled to do, he was verbally abused and physically prevented from entering. We know that Williams demanded that Wendy Chapman cut his lip to produce a real blood injury and that she repeatedly refused to do so until he screamed at her to Cut my fucking lip!!
As it happened, Leinster won the game anyway, but when the cheating was discovered and the General Medical Council inquiry began, Chapman was suspended from the hospital where she worked as an A&E consultant and is now out of work.
I’m inclined to agree with the opinion of Tanner, who appeared at the hearing as a defence witness for Chapman, that she has already paid the price for what happened and should not be subjected to any more pain. What she did had no effect on the outcome of the match, it didn’t endanger anybody and, while it was unprofessional, was hardly at the most grievous end of the scale of misconduct. I hope the word of a surgeon as eminent as Tanner will stay the GMC’s hand enough to spare this poor woman any further suffering.
Since the cheat Dean Richards will soon be back in work, and since Tom Williams is over his suspension, maybe the decent thing to do would be to acknowledge that Wendy Chapman (who knew nothing about the conspiracy to cheat) has been put through enough.