Spanish psychiatrist convicted of sexual abuse expelled by medical association

Originally written by Xurxo Melchor, for La Voz de Galicia, in Spanish.

The organisation’s board of directors stresses that Emilio González Fernández’s behaviour is not in line with the ethical and deontological values of the profession.

The board of directors of the Official College of Doctors of A Coruña has unanimously approved the expulsion from the institution of the psychiatrist from Santiago convicted of sexual abuse of a patient. Emilio González Fernández is thus provisionally removed from the profession while the Ethics and Deontology Commission of the institution issues its obligatory opinion, which could lead to the definitive expulsion of the doctor.

The psychiatrist, who is currently 78 years old, was already retired from his post in the Sergas and has also already closed his private practice, which was located at number 84, Calle del Hórreo de Santiago. However, doctors can always practise their profession, as has happened now with the coronavirus pandemic, and the expulsion also deprives him of the social benefits of being a member of a medical association.

Expulsion brings with it an absolute lifetime ban on practising medicine and the loss of the rights inherent in membership. For the board of the Medical Association of A Coruña, the “repeated behaviour” of Emilio González Fernández, who has just admitted in court that he sexually abused a patient and who did the same in 2003 following another complaint, “is not in accordance with the ethical and deontological values of the medical profession”.

The provincial medical institution describes as serious and repeated the facts for which the well-known psychiatrist from Compostela has just been condemned, who has an extensive curriculum such as having been the clinical head of the psychiatric sanatorium of Conxo, in Santiago, or having founded the Psychosocial Centre of Ferrol, as well as being part of the first democratic corporation of Compostela after the municipal elections of 1979. He contested those elections on the lists of Unidade Galega and as a member of the Partido Socialista Galego, as he has always been linked to progressivism and Galicianism.

Emilio González was denounced by a patient and brought to light ten other almost identical cases that also wanted to take him to court, but a long time had passed since the facts took place and the offences were time-barred. Nevertheless, these ten women were to testify as victim-witnesses in the trial that was to be held this month in Santiago Criminal Court 2. Before the date of the hearing arrived, the psychiatrist reached an agreement with the prosecution and the private prosecution whereby he admitted the facts and accepted a sentence of one year and nine months in prison and the payment of a compensation of 6,000 euros to the victim.

Two of the complainants whose cases were time-barred filed complaints at the time with both the Sergas and the Medical Association of A Coruña. The Xunta concluded its investigation with a three-month sanctioning file against Emilio González, against whom the professional institution took no action as it considered that at the time there was no conclusive evidence against him. The psychiatrist categorically denied the facts, so that his lie before the board of directors will now also be taken into account when deciding whether the expulsion becomes definitive.

The young patient whom González Fernández admitted to having sexually abused never filed a complaint with the Medical Association of A Coruña.


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