A top cancer surgeon has been banned from treating patients for three months after he repeatedly subjected his girlfriend to a torrent of alcohol-fueled rage and accused of her of having multiple affairs.
Jeremy McKenzie, 55, verbally abused his partner – named only as Dr A – on a ‘daily basis’ and once fell on top of the mother-of-two while he was drunk, a tribunal heard.
They became embroiled in a bitter feud over a pedigree pet Bengal Maine Coon cat called Solitaire – which Dr A claimed he bought her as a gift, before saying she could have it ‘when her behaviour was good enough’.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service cleared McKenzie – a consultant in head and neck surgery at William Harvey Hospital, Kent – of physical abuse and ruled that Solitaire belonged to him.
But he was found guilty of serious misconduct and suspended from practising for three months.
A top cancer surgeon has been banned from treating patients for three months after he allegedly subjected his girlfriend to a torrent of alcohol-fuelled rage and accused of her of having multiple affairs. McKenzie was a consultant in Head and Neck Surgery at William Harvey Hospital, Kent (pictured)
During the couple’s turbulent three-year relationship, the tribunal heard McKenzie accused Dr A of having affairs with colleagues, called her a ‘whore’ and claimed she had only done well in her career due to her flirting with other men.
He also sent her abusive text messages threatening to tell colleagues’ wives of her alleged sexual encounters with their husbands and gave her orders to turn down a job offer, she claimed.
During one incident at a family get together McKenzie – who specialises in head and neck cancers – was said to have cornered the woman in a kitchen and refused to let her leave until she handed back a ring he gave her.
He also allegedly shouted ‘you’re all c****’ at Dr A, her two children, sister and her sister’s husband’ and pulled a curtain rail down from the wall in a bedroom.
McKenzie was reported to the General Medical Council in 2018 after Dr A discovered he had been convicted of drink driving the previous year.
He crashed his car while almost three times the alcohol limit.
He faced 18 disciplinary allegations including concealing the conviction for which he was ordered to complete 120 hours community service and was disqualified from driving for two years.
The Manchester hearing was told the couple had been in an ‘on-off’, turbulent and difficult relationship from February 2015 to January 2018.
McKenzie drank alcohol to excess and repeatedly behaved in an ‘erratic and mentally abusive manner’, the tribunal heard.
In a statement Dr A said: ‘Dr McKenzie became physically and psychologically abusive from around February 2015 right to the end of our relationship, with the verbal abuse happening on a daily basis.
‘In some messages Dr McKenzie threatened to punch some of the people that he had accused me of being with.
‘On one occasion I went to the door of Dr McKenzie’s flat and he followed me to try and stop me from leaving.
‘He went to stop me from trying to get to the door, although he had already locked it at this point and he could not find the keys as he was so drunk.
‘He reached his arm out to try and push me away from the door and in doing he lost his balance and he fell over due to being so drunk and passed out on top of me.
‘On another occasion I was staying at Dr McKenzie’s flat with my children.
‘I was exhausted and had fallen asleep. He did not have enough space to sleep so we had to use inflatable mattresses in the living room.
‘I had fallen asleep in a single bed and he woke me up and pushed me in the living room, demanding that I make his bed.
‘At one point when my cat died and he bought me a kitten.
‘He kept the kitten at his flat. I asked when I would get the cat and he said words to the effect of “when your behaviour is good enough”.
‘I never got the cat. I believe this was a way of punishing and controlling me.’
Rosalind Emsley-Smith – counsel for the General Medical Council – said: ‘Mr McKenzie had pursued a campaign of emotional abuse when intoxicated over a lengthy period of time. His conduct caused a negative impact to Dr A and her family.’
McKenzie admitted verbally abusing Dr A but added: ‘I vehemently wish to reiterate I was never physically abusive to her.
‘If Dr A ever stayed at my flat she would spend the night in the master bedroom with me.
‘I do not recall her ever sleeping in the smaller room so it would therefore be illogical for me to have woken her up and pushed her into the living room demanding that she make my bed, as she would have been sleeping with me in the double bed.
‘In any event I never pushed her as alleged.’
He added: ‘During my relationship with Dr A, I gave her a kitten. At the time, Dr A had a dog and unfortunately her dog continuously barked at the kitten so we both decided that I should take the kitten back.’
He maintained Solitaire was his cat and not Dr A’s – insisting he had wanted a Bengal Maine Coon, found a breeder and had visited the breeder with Dr A and her children to get the cat in 2016.
Defence council Christopher Mellor said the abuse ‘arose during a difficult period in his personal life’ and added: ‘He had a previously unblemished career over approximately 30 years.
‘His alcohol misuse never impacted on the care of any patient and it is plain Mr McKenzie is an excellent doctor and a caring and compassionate man.
‘He is at the forefront of dealing with cancer patients in his local area at a time when the NHS is under extraordinary pressure.
‘His conduct in this case was out of character and arose through the inappropriate use of alcohol during what was an on-off, turbulent and difficult relationship with Dr A.
‘He has been abstinent from alcohol since November 2019.’
The tribunal cleared McKenzie of physical abuse and said Solitaire belonged to him.
Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service chairman Paul Burns said: ‘Whilst it was clear from Mr McKenzie’s extensive admissions that many aspects of Dr A’s evidence were reliable, and correct, in other respects her evidence was, at times, unreliable or exaggerated.
‘However Mr McKenzie’s persistent, impactful mental abuse, when under the influence of alcohol over a three year period, amounted to serious misconduct. ‘