NHS psychiatrist told satanist patient to get help from a 24-hour church TV channel in Nigeria because she might be ‘possessed’ by demonic forces.
Dr Julius Awakame, 50, said psychiatry or psychology wouldn’t help her
He gave her the name of the channel and told her to get ‘nice holy water’
Doctor said he ‘studied’ the station ‘for hours’ in the consultation in 2014
Awakame faces being struck off after being found guilty of misconduct.
A NHS psychiatrist advised a patient to get help from a 24-hour church TV channel based in Nigeria because she might be possessed by demonic ‘special forces’.
Dr Julius Awakame, 50, recorded medical notes diagnosing the woman as having a history of ‘satanic ritual abuse’ and said her issues could not be addressed by regular treatment.
Instead he gave her the name of the television station run by a church in Lagos adding: ‘neither psychiatry not psychology would be able to help because there are special forces at play.’
The woman – known as Patient A – claimed Awakame also told her to get ‘nice holy water’ before ‘switching off’ during the consultation at a health centre in Harwich, Essex.
When community psychiatric nurse Martin Rowe later quizzed Awkame whether she she was possessed, the medic replied: ‘She may well be’ and claimed she had been thrown out of her local church due to her condition.
The doctor’s employment with the North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust was terminated the following month.
Today Awkame – who has since returned to his native Ghana – faced being struck off after he was found guilty in his absence at a medical tribunal of a number of misconduct charges.
The consultation took place on January 23 2014 when Awakame was treating the vulnerable woman as an outpatient.
The hearing, in Manchester, was told he was made aware she had a ‘Dissociative Identity’ – a personality disorder – and a ‘history of previous satanic ritual abuse’ before making a record of it in his notes.
But Awakame, formerly of Ipswich, then told Patient A she had been ‘initiated through satanic ritual’ and wrote down a website address for her to access.
He told her the TV station was ‘specifically targeted for people who experienced similar situations.’
And he said her problems ‘could only be addressed by the church’ before he wrote down the name and suggested she write a book about her experiences.
He also told Patient A he had watched the TV station and said there were ‘many people who had similar problems’ to her.
The patient further claimed Awakame told her to ask the church to send her some ‘nice holy water’ to help with her problems. She later spoke to Mr Rowe about the encounter and the nurse quizzed Awakame.
When the nurse told Awakame that Patient A thought she might be ‘possessed’ he replied: ‘She may well be.’
The doctor also said he ‘studied’ the TV station ‘for hours’ and said the woman’s church had recognised she was possessed and had thrown her out.
Speaking of her emotional state following the meeting, Patient A said: ‘I had pretty much switched off after hearing Dr Awakame tell me that no psychiatrist or psychologist could help me as throughout my childhood my parents had told me that no one would believe me and no one would help me’.
Awakame was reported to a consultant psychiatrist at the Trust by Mr Rowe the day after the consultation.
Following an investigation he was subsequently sacked and referred to the General Medical Council.
Awakame, who worked in various hospitals in the NHS from 1997 to 2014, will be disciplined next month by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.
He is currently working as a lecturer in ‘health informatics’ in his home country where he graduated in medicine in 1993.
He studied for a masters degree at the University College of London and a PhD at the University of Leeds.
In an email to the panel he said he had left clinical medicine and added: ‘I consider all these proceedings flogging of a dead horse. But I understand the GMC has to go through the motions.’
He said he did not have the ‘time or resources’ to be involved in the proceedings.
David Kyle, chairman of the fitness to practise panel dismissed a claim that Awakame had asked Patient A to get ‘nice holy water.’
But he said: ‘The Tribunal explored the possibility of Patient A being biased as well as considering her overall reliability. In the event, the Tribunal did not consider there was any such bias.
‘Her oral evidence to the Tribunal was consistent with her written statement. Despite the lapse of time and her complex mental health problems, she was a reliable and credible witness who was doing her best to give an accurate account of events.
‘There is unchallenged evidence that at an early stage of the consultation Dr Awakame knew about the patient’s diagnosis and previous history.
‘Indeed, he made a record of the diagnosis in his note of the consultation. Dr Awakame does not discount having said something about anointed water when describing the church to Patient A, but he has no recollection of doing so.’