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Trainee UK surgeon struck from roll over false sex claims and faked research

A trainee surgeon has been struck from the UK doctors’ register after a medical tribunal hearing found her guilty of “persistent and deliberate” dishonesty.

Dr Zoe Sun, 37, waged a smear campaign against innocent senior colleagues after she was exposed for falsifying a major clinical study at Cambridge University. She accused two doctors of being sex pests and made false complaints about other colleagues after she wrongly took credit for a research project funded by pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

She reported the innocent medics to the police, and when told her there was no evidence against them, instead told supervisors the pair was facing arrest, as a criminal probe into her allegations was “still ongoing”. The research for which Sun took credit later had to be reanalysed and resubmitted after it was found to contain errors, reports Daily Mail.

A misconduct panel heard the incidents began in April 2017 when Sun, a trainee in vascular surgery at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, was assigned to work at Cambridge as a clinical research associate on a study called OPERA. Her role was to collect data from the human subjects, analyse the results and report them to a senior medic in charge of the project before they were to be presented to GSK.

But in September 2018, she submitted a draft manuscript of the study to the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN): “Recombinant erythropoietin reduces endothelium-mediated vasodilation in pre-dialysis patients with CKD – a prospective controlled study.”

It was submitted without permission and she had removed the names of her co-authors. When told to withdraw it, Sun ignored the instruction and instead emailed a Cambridge University professor saying: “Neither of them did a thing. GSK has seen the last version and given their permission.”

She subsequently quit Cambridge University before lodging “wide-ranging and inaccurate” complaints against her colleagues and wrongly claiming they had agreed to the manuscriptʼs publication, reports Daily Mail.

When told she was being referred to the General Medical Council (GMC) for misconduct, she laid a formal complaint against her supervisor – the deputy medical director at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

She also laid complaints with police relating to harassment from the doctor and two other colleagues.

When police told her they would not be pursuing her allegations due to a lack of evidence, she made another online report that one of the doctors had assaulted her in the operating theatre.

Jane Oldfield, counsel for GMC at the tribunal, said: “Dr Sun’s repeated, varied, and far-reaching acts of dishonesty are both individually and collectively extremely serious.”

MPTS chairman Paul Curtis said a striking off order was the most appropriate action to take.


DDaily Mail article – (Open access)


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