A UHG DOCTOR accused of sending inappropriate texts and email pictures to female colleagues has denied wrongdoing and says he believes one of his accusers may have had a psychological or psychiatric disorder.
Dr Onada Olajide Onada, a former senior house officer at University College Hospital Galway, was speaking during the final day of a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry into his conduct.
It is also alleged he failed to respond to his pager at least five times, that he failed to inform the hospital in time that he would not be attending for duty and that he failed to take blood specimens from patients in a timely manner.
Responding to claims he harassed female colleagues with text messages and sent pictures of scantily clad women to one of them, Dr Onada said one colleague was possibly paranoid.
He told solicitor for the Medical Council J P McDowell he did not know if the woman had a psychological or psychiatric problem but, if it was her evidence that she could not drive home without checking her wing mirrors to see if he might be following her, then that was evidence that “she needs help”.
He said an email sent to another colleague at 5.15am containing a picture of a scantily clad woman had been sent from his gmail account, but not by him. He said it might have been sent by someone using his computer, possibly by his child’s nanny. He told Mr McDowell he had not raised the issue with the nanny as she “would not remember”.
Dr Onada acknowledged sending a text message to a female colleague who was working a night shift, containing the words: “Wakey, wakey. On night shift xxx.” It was also alleged that Dr Onada sent an email containing an article about women with an “hour-glass figure” to another female colleague, while texts on some occasions used the words “sweetheart” and “cutie”.
Dr Onada said he did not refer to cleavage or mini skirts and the messages he acknowledged he did send were sent out of friendliness.
He said a text message he sent to one of his colleagues, which said “thanks for the phone call before the meeting sweetheart – like the dress that you wore yesterday”, should be considered in the light of a colleague commenting on another’s appearance. “Like ‘nice shirt’, ‘nice dress’,” he said.
However he said he himself had been the subject of inappropriate contact from a number of his colleagues including one woman who told him colleagues were meeting socially and asking if he “wanted to come”.
He said it was his first day at work and he considered the contact from a female to be inappropriate. He told the hearing that in certain relationships, there could be a sexual connotation in the way the invitation was worded.
Mr McDowell asked if it would be different if the woman issuing the invitation had added the words “to the canteen” after the words “do you want to come?”.
Dr Onada said this could possibly have made a difference.
It was also put to Dr Onada that in early 2010 he had failed to respond adequately when bleeped, and that later that year, he had failed to notify the hospital that he would not be available for work.
In relation to his absenteeism, Dr Onada said he had been unwell with flu and had not telephoned as he was unable to speak. He said he had acted as registrar on a number of occasions and was used to medical staff ringing in to say they had been out the night before and were unable to work. No one had asked him about his illness and wished him well, he said.
In his summary, Dr Onada said he rejected the allegations and said it was worth noting there were “no allegations to do with patient care”. Dr Onada worked at the hospital from August 2010 to January 2011. He was dismissed from his position following a disciplinary hearing.
The Medical Council is to announce its verdict at a later date.