A paramedic who tried to force a patient to perform a sex act on him as she lay helpless on a stretcher in the back of his ambulance has been struck off.
William Mitchell, 58, groped the woman under her clothes before exposing himself.
I just don’t want him to be doing this to anybody else.Patient A
Mitchell then forced her head towards his groin as she fought for breath, a Health Care Professions Council tribunal heard.
The patient was being rushed to hospital because she was struggling to breathe, but was discharged later the same day.
She collapsed the following day with the same symptoms, but slammed the phone down in terror when 999 operators offered to send an ambulance to help her.
After the woman complained Mitchell failed to attend an internal disciplinary hearing and resigned from the North East Ambulance Service.
The HCPC tribunal found Mitchell’s fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct and banned him from practising for a minimum period of five years.
Hannah Eales, for the HCPC, said: “Patient A contacted the emergency services because she was having trouble breathing.
“Mr Mitchell and an emergency support worker were sent to the address in an ambulance, a rapid response vehicle was also dispatched.
“The support worker drove the vehicle, while Mr Mitchell stayed in the rear of the vehicle alone with Patient A whilst the ambulance was in transit.’
Mitchell’s behaviour was captured on the ambulance’s interior CCTV.
When Patient A refused medical help the next time she was having difficulty breathing, a concerned operator sent two paramedics to carry out a welfare check.
Ms Eales said: “She told them what happened on the previous day and they called the police who attended the property and took a statement.
“An investigation into the complaint was carried out and a disciplinary hearing was held but Mr Mitchell resigned two weeks before the hearing date.”
Mitchell denied any wrongdoing to both police and his employers, but admitted misconduct in a public office at Durham Crown Court in December 2013.
But the conviction was later quashed on a technicality in February 2014 by three senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal.
Sir Brian Leveson ruled that Mitchell should not have been charged with misconduct in a public office as he was not a ‘public official’.
Sitting with Lady Justice Thirlwall and Mr Justice Lewis, he said the duty of paramedics and health workers was owed to ‘individuals’ and their employers, rather than a specific duty to the general public.
Speaking out after the incident, Patient A said: “I pushed him off. When the ambulance stopped it was as if nothing had happened.
“It’s been horrendous for me. I know it’s over and done with but it’s still on my mind.
“Me and my husband could be split up through this. My husband and son don’t believe me.
“It goes around and around in my head. I’m so down.
“I just don’t want him to be doing this to anybody else.”
The patient said after Mitchell’s successful appeal: “It’s absolutely disgraceful. He pleaded guilty yet he has got off with it.
“His conviction is quashed but it’s still my life. It’s still me that it’s happened to.”
Mitchell, of Fencehouses, near Houghton-le-Spring, was not present or represented at the HCPC hearing in London.
He admitted exposing himself, groping the patient and forcing her head towards his groin.
He also admitted that his actions were sexually motivated in a letter to the HCPC.
Mitchell now has 28 days in which to appeal the decision to the High Court.