Married psychiatrist, 41, keeps his job after offering to have sex with patient and telling her: ‘Any rich man in India would want you’
By Isabella Nikolic
December 8, 2020
Sri Thiguti – Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist who asked to have sex with a patient and said ‘that’s what doctors do’ while stroking her hands won’t lose his job.
Dr Sri Thiguti, 41, blamed his lewd behaviour on his crumbling marriage. He told the woman she was ‘pretty and attractive’ and that he ‘liked white women’.
He declared, ‘Any rich man in India would want you,’ during eight separate medical consultations.
Thiguti later kissed her at an illicit meeting at a Tesco car park and suggested they have sex as a ‘one off’ at his house whilst his wife was away, a medical tribunal heard.
No sexual encounter took place at Thiguti’s home but the woman, known as Patient A, later complained to bosses at Harplands Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, where the father-of-one worked as a consultant psychiatrist.
In a statement the patient thought to be an artist said during one of their meetings, Thiguti urged her to show him a tattoo she had on her breast asked whether she thought about him and suggested she paint his portrait.
She was said to ‘felt cheap and disgusted’ at being propositioned. Thiguti claimed the woman suggested they have ‘wild animal sex’ together and said he had been flirting with Patient A to ‘seek validation’ for his looks.
At the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester Thiguti faced being struck off after admitting sexually motivated misconduct but was suspended from practise instead for 12 months.
The hearing was told the incidents occurred between August 2017 and June 2018 whilst the doctor’s marriage was ‘under strain.’
He was assigned to treat Patient A who had mental health problems but on various occasions Thiguti stroked her hand with his thumb as she was speaking to him.
The tribunal heard he would hold Patient A’s hand for five to ten minutes and when asked by her if his behaviour was ethical, he replied: ‘I’m just comforting a patient, that’s what doctors do. It’s okay doctors can do that if a patient is suffering.’
The doctor, originally from Andhra Pradesh, South India, then told her: ‘You’re really pretty, you’re really good looking, any rich man in India would want you.’
He also asked whether Patient A found him attractive and whether she would paint a portrait of him. He further asked if she had tattoos and if he could see then when she she said she had one on her breast and one on her shoulder.
He quizzed her about him coming around to her house and ‘what she would do if he knocked on her front door.’ He said he ‘liked white women’ and that his relationship with his wife was ‘not a good one’ and that he could ‘take her pain away, when talking about orgasms.’
Later he arranged to meet Patient A at Tesco where he told her: ‘Oh I could get in trouble for this.’
During the encounter he drove her around the area in search of a coffee shop then said they could go to his house for a ‘one-time only thing.’ He also put his hands at either side of her upper arms before kissing her on the lips.
During her evidence which was given in private, Patient A said Thiguti proposed that they go to his home to have sex. She described feeling ‘cheap and disgusted at being propositioned in this way’ and said following the proposition for sex they returned to Tesco.
She said Dr Thiguti accompanied Patient A back to her car, where he held her by the arms, kissed her and tried to insert his tongue into her mouth. Earlier during medical consultations, Patient A said Thiguti would hold her hand ‘for 5 or 10 minutes’ and stroke her hand when she was upset. She added: ‘He would also stare at me and hold a glare which felt intimate, something your partner would do’.
In his evidence Thiguti said the aim of his lewd behaviour was to ‘seek validation in her finding him to be attractive.’ He admitted he had been ‘pushing the boundaries with Patient A and that it had become like a drug to him.’
He told the Tribunal that ‘alarm bells had sounded for him when he and Patient A were driving around and she had mentioned ‘wild animal sex’. He said at that point he turned the car around and returned to the Tesco car park.
Thiguti said during consultations he would ‘humanise’ his appointments by discussing his patients’ hobbies with them and said if a patient liked baking he would ask if they would bake for him as a way of trying to build ‘rapport.’
Nick Walker lawyer for the General Medical Council accused Thiguti of ‘grooming’ the patient and told the hearing: ‘His behaviour was inappropriate from day one and he did more than just push the boundaries with Patient A.
‘He continued with his conduct even after Patient A had questioned whether his behaviour was ethical. Dr Thiguti knew Patient A’s background, but put his own needs above those of her.
‘He asked Patient A about sexual matters in circumstances which fell outside the boundaries of acceptable behaviour for a member of his profession. He met her outside of a clinical setting and invited Patient A to his home.’
But Thiguti’s lawyer Stephen Brassington said since the incidents his client had embarked upon a ‘significant package of continued professional development and reflection’ including attending a ‘gold standard’ course on maintaining doctor patient boundaries.
Tribunal chairman Sean Eli said: ‘Dr Thiguti’s abject and frank admissions provided evidence of a clear understanding of what he did.
‘His attempts at remediation and progress are genuine and focused and he has not tried to minimise the seriousness of his sexually motivated conduct towards Patient A.
‘Dr Thiguti’s marriage was very strained and he had no social or professional support networks. Whilst Dr Thiguti accepted is conduct with Patient A was wrong, the tribunal considered that this must be viewed in the context at that time.
‘He has referred to strategies that he would undertake to ensure he does not over identify with patients in the future.’
Thiguti will face a review hearing next year.