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Woman fined after pretending to be a doctor to treat injured cyclist

Joanne Graham falsely claimed to be “a trauma doctor” when she came across cyclist Martin Jones, who had fallen two feet down a ditch after crashing his e-bike

A woman has been fined £600 and ordered to pay over £800 in costs after falsely claiming to be a doctor to treat an injured cyclist, who had fallen two feet down a ditch after an e-bike crash.

47-year-old Joanne Graham, of Corwen, Wales, denied pretending to be a medical practitioner by “wilfully and falsely using the title of doctor” at her trial at Llandudno Magistrates Court yesterday, North Wales Live reports

In June last year Martin Jones, while out cycling with his nephew, crashed his electric bike. Mr Jones, who has a prosthetic leg, fell into a v-shaped ditch following the crash. He suffered a fractured wrist in the fall as well as a cut to the head, but remained conscious.

As other passers-by tried to help the stricken cyclist, Graham stopped her car at the scene and claimed she was a doctor. She emerged with what appeared to be two large red bags of medical equipment, and proceeded to cut parts of Jones’ clothing and fitted him with an oxygen mask.

One witness, Detective Constable David Buckley – who was off duty at the time of the incident – told the court: “A blue Land Rover Freelander stopped. A lady in boots, jeans and a shirt got out and said ‘I’m a doctor’.”

Buckley said that he felt “relieved that another medical professional was now on scene.”

Another passer-by, Helen Counsell (a former District Nursing Sister and former Investigations Manager of Serious Incidents at Wrexham Maelor Hospital) said that Graham cut the clothing over Jones’ chest and abdomen, but that her examination was “cursory”.

Counsell also said that Graham asked for an air ambulance, which she thought was “not warranted” in this particular case.

Counsell later phoned Police Constable Bethan Williams, who was also at the scene, to raise her concerns. Williams carried out enquiries but couldn’t find Graham registered with the General Medical Council.

> Pothole crash caused cyclist’s death, inquest hears 

After being arrested, Graham denied that she called herself a ‘doctor’, insisting that she had introduced herself as a “trauma medic” from Mountain Rescue.

She told the court that she is an ‘incident commander’, including being a site medic, in a major accident and emergency response team for her employer.

She had previously obtained a qualification for casualty care in mountain rescue, which expired in 2019, and a life support qualification, which she currently holds.

Despite denying the charge, Magistrates chairman David Davies found Graham guilty of ‘pretending to be registered by taking the name or title of a medical practitioner’, with the prosecutor arguing that she was “living in a little bit of a fantasy world”.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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19 comments

Avatar
Jenova20 | 1 year ago
2 likes

I find it ridiculous that the penalties she faced are more than twice what she'd have got if she had ran the cyclist over herself, intentionally, in front of witnesses, then gone to court and lied about it.

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TriTaxMan | 1 year ago
0 likes

She sounds like she has a Saviour Complex.

Why else would someone with an expired first aid qualification be carrying around bags of medical equipment including oxygen mask?  Then you go on to the cutting off of the victims clothes..... why?  Then ask.....why would you contemplate calling for an air ambulance which are generally only used for the most serious incidents where any delay in getting the patient to hospital would risk their life.... which from all accounts was not the case.

It all sounds like someone who wanted the recognition for saving the mans life.

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mike the bike | 1 year ago
0 likes

It's a funny old world.  George Clooney gets a hundred times a doctor's salary for pretending to be a doctor while this poor deluded woman gets total humiliation.

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Rendel Harris replied to mike the bike | 1 year ago
6 likes
mike the bike wrote:

It's a funny old world.  George Clooney gets a hundred times a doctor's salary for pretending to be a doctor while this poor deluded woman gets total humiliation.

Yeah and George Clooney shoots people in films and yet he's not in prison, what's that all about? What a peculiar comment.

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mike the bike replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
mike the bike wrote:

It's a funny old world.  George Clooney gets a hundred times a doctor's salary for pretending to be a doctor while this poor deluded woman gets total humiliation.

Yeah and George Clooney shoots people in films and yet he's not in prison, what's that all about? What a peculiar comment.

And what, pray, is wrong with the occasional peculiarity?

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jh2727 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
mike the bike wrote:

It's a funny old world.  George Clooney gets a hundred times a doctor's salary for pretending to be a doctor while this poor deluded woman gets total humiliation.

Yeah and George Clooney shoots people in films and yet he's not in prison, what's that all about? What a peculiar comment.

I think you are confusing George Clooney with Alec Baldwin - George Clooney only pretends to shoot people.

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chrisonabike | 1 year ago
5 likes

I've noticed lots of unlikely and apparently unqualified people suddenly appearing and showing concern for cyclists and cycling.  They suddenly rush to our aid in the media and sometimes even parliament.  Maybe what we need is a parallel offense of impersonating a cyclist?

But what shibboleth could we use to distinguish the true from the bogus?  Not so difficult in practice I'd say: "As a cyclist myself I think children would be much safer cycling with the traffic on this 5-arm 3-lane gyratory".  "I'm all for encouraging cycling - I bought a bike during lockdown.  But taking space from motor vehicles on this busy road is not the right answer".  "The driver was making a perfectly safe overtaking manouever while not obstructing the oncoming lane so the cyclist must have suddenly swerved into them - I've seen this happen a lot while out on my bike".  "I'm a keen cyclist but it seems many other cyclists clearly think they own the road and are above the law, showing no consideration to pedestrians or other road users."

The last may be a valid observation of course.  However the context normally shows the difference e.g. focus on "plagues" of cyclists but lack of awareness that other road users also behave like berks.  Indifference to fixing things so cyclists can get about safely with less conflict with others.

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brooksby | 1 year ago
1 like

So Counsell, who complained to the authorities and who felt that an air ambulance was not warranted, was not a doctor either? 

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Secret_squirrel replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
5 likes

She never claimed to be - so your point is?

Pretending to be a doctor is an offence- hopefully the reasons why are obvious. 

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brooksby replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

I totally understand why claiming to be a doctor if you're not, is an offence.

What I meant, was:

Graham was qualified as a mountain rescue medic, if not a doctor (and continually denied saying she was a doctor), so personally I'd be happy for her to attend to me if I'd had a bad crash.

Counsell was a former district nurse, so also not a doctor, and yet her opinion on whether it is warranted to call an air ambulance is happily accepted.

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Secret_squirrel replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Graham was qualified as a mountain rescue medic, if not a doctor (and continually denied saying she was a doctor), so personally I'd be happy for her to attend to me if I'd had a bad crash.

Pretty sure I wouldn't  without evidence she has actually practiced.

For the magistrate to suggest she was living in a fantasy world rings even more alarm bells for me!

 

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OnYerBike replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
4 likes
brooksby wrote:

I totally understand why claiming to be a doctor if you're not, is an offence.

What I meant, was:

Graham was qualified as a mountain rescue medic, if not a doctor (and continually denied saying she was a doctor), so personally I'd be happy for her to attend to me if I'd had a bad crash.

Counsell was a former district nurse, so also not a doctor, and yet her opinion on whether it is warranted to call an air ambulance is happily accepted.

Graham had an expired qualification for "casualty care in mountain rescue" and a "life support qualification". A bit of googling suggests a life support qualification can be obtained from a half-day training course. The casualty care in mountain rescure course appears to be a bit more in depth, but given that it appears to remain valid for three years and expired two years prior to the incident, she would have done the training approx five years prior to the incident and there's no evidence (in this article) that she ever actually put the training into practice (indeed if she remained an active member of mountain rescue, I doubt she would have allowed the qualification to lapse). So in short, as far as I can tell she had a few days of training but zero actual experience of delivering first aid.

Counsell, although not a doctor, appears to have been professionally involved delivering actual healthcare, including at a senior level, for many years. Don't underestimate the knowledge or experience of somebody because they are "just" a nurse.

I know which one I would rather have calling the shots.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
4 likes

Lucky he didn't get treated by one of these new-fangled autonomous doctor vehicles

//imgs.xkcd.com/comics/watson_medical_algorithm_2x.png)

https://xkcd.com/1619/

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eburtthebike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Lucky he didn't get treated by one of these new-fangled autonomous doctor vehicles

//imgs.xkcd.com/comics/watson_medical_algorithm_2x.png)

https://xkcd.com/1619/

Wonderful but clearly not designed for cycling incidents; no mention of checking the bike first.

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cbrndc replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
3 likes

You mean not checking for scrtches on the car that knocked the cyclist over.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
8 likes

£1400 for having done no-one any harm.  If she had knocked off the cyclist it would only have cost her a couple of hundred.

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mdavidford replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
6 likes

In the event, they don't appear to have done any physical harm to the patient, but if more urgent attention had been needed and they'd delayed that, it could have caused harm, not to mention potential disruption from e.g. trying to get the air ambulance called out. Plus there's a wider harm of undermining people's confidence in medical professionals attending an incident.

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Trikemanity | 1 year ago
1 like

What a strange individual....

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cbrndc replied to Trikemanity | 1 year ago
4 likes

Not that strange, but not uncommon in people with a little knowledge and a Walter Mitty character. 

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