Christian doctor denies performing exorcism on depressed patient

The Cobridge Health Centre where Thomas O'Brien met the patient.

A Pentecostal GP is under investigation by a General Medical Council committee after a patient accused him of performing an exorcism on her and saying that God could heal her without medication.

Dr Thomas O'Brien, 56, was first seen by O'Brien when he was a locum at Cobridge Health Centre in Stoke on Trent. He is alleged to have told the patient, who had had stomach surgery, that the "devil was having a real go at her". He is said to have taken her to religious meetings, prayed with her at home and programmed her television to The Gospel Channel.

The woman also said he had given her a copy of a book he had written with his wife called the Occult Checklist, that she was told to stop taking anti-depressants and blood pressure medication and warned not to tell her psychiatrist.

According to the Stoke Sentinel, GMC counsel Peter Atherton told the hearing: "He and his wife took her to a meeting and at that meeting she was advised against seeing a psychiatrist, that god was her surgeon and she should stop her medication. They also offered her an exorcism and performed it. She was made to feel as if all things going wrong were due to the devil."

O'Brien did not attend the hearing but wrote denying all the allegations, describing them as attacks on his "private Christian faith and life". His letter said that he had resigned from practising medicine, continuing: "I know what went on and what my wife and I did or did not do. Even if they [GMC] did side with me, I know true justice will be done one day and no-one can escape from that.

"The allegations have been severe enough to break anyone down emotionally and I'm grateful for my faith which sustained me throughout the ordeal.

"I forgive the patient and her husband and also the psychiatrist for the horrendous allegations against my wife and me. We are enjoying living a quiet private life and we are able to help many more people than I would have done by staying in the NHS. God knows everything and will judge fairly."