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Physiotherapist struck off after asking to massage patient inappropriately

A Christchurch physiotherapist has been struck off the register for professional misconduct over an appointment with a woman at her home during which he asked to massage her "clitoral region".

Stuff reports the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal heard the case against Peter William Chum this week.

Chum denied the 11 charges of professional misconduct he faced over an appointment with the woman in May 2016. 

The complainant was recovering at home after suffering a traumatic brain injury and had been referred to Chum for an assessment of vocal and swallowing problems.

He assessed and treated the woman's throat and neck muscles, then offered to massage her lower back, saying muscle tension in that area could affect her vocal problems. She removed her clothes at Chum's request.

She had become increasingly uncomfortable and "alarmed" as his massage moved higher up her inner thighs.

In an email to the woman a few days after the appointment, Chum had apologised for "any offence or embarrassment" he may have caused. 

The tribunal found Chum guilty of inadequate draping, unnecessary treatment and unwarranted and unwelcome touching of intimate areas of the complainant's body.

He was also found guilty of malpractice, negligence and bringing the profession of physiotherapy into disrepute for all but one charge.

The woman had complained to the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand which in June 2016 banned Chum from treating female patients. But he breached this and in 2017 was fined for treating 14 women.

File image. Source: istock.com