Court: Religious Doctor Liable for Causing Fear of Owls

A religious British doctor was ruled by a High Court to owe a woman £12,000 ($15,323) for medical negligence when he caused in her a great and lasting fear of owls and told her not to see a psychiatrist.

A woman left with a fear of owls following months of religious grooming by a doctor has been awarded more than £12,000 after a High Court ruling.

Sally Brayshaw, 56, from Stoke-on-Trent, was told she was possessed by demons and the devil was “having a real go” at her by GP Thomas O’Brien.

At one of a series of religious meetings she attended with the locum doctor, a preacher spoke of sacrificing an owl which left her “terrified” of the birds and she later became upset when seeing a picture of one.

She was left traumatised by the experience, which the judge, Mr Justice Martin Spencer, described as “foreseeable”.

The locum doctor, a Pentecostal Christian, also advised her not to see a psychiatrist, Ms Brayshaw said in her High Court claim.

Ruling Dr O’Brien was “negligent”, Mr Justice Spencer said Mrs Brayshaw was entitled to more than £12,700 in compensation from the doctor.

But the judge rejected her claim against the partners of Apsley Surgery in Stoke-on-Trent, where Dr O’Brien worked.

“By reason of his zealous promotion of the religious aspects, he became blind to the medical aspects and thereby caused or contributed to the deterioration in the claimant’s mental health,” the judge said.

“Accordingly, in my judgment, (Dr O’Brien) is liable to the claimant for the psychiatric damage which she has sustained and its consequences.”

Dr O’Brien, who was struck off in 2015 after a General Medical Council investigation, took no part in the case and his whereabouts are unknown.

Via SkyNews

Struck-off: Removed, usually from a position of power or responsibility or stature. (Example:) The doctor was struck off for professional misconduct.

Via YourDictionary

I hope she gets the help she needed. Phobias are fairly treatable these days. With oclaphobia, a persistent irrational fear of owls, Mrs Brayshaw may not get certain messages …

🧙‍♂️ 🦉

4 thoughts on “Court: Religious Doctor Liable for Causing Fear of Owls”

    1. First scene: I imagine the woman’s satisfied face as the court announces the decision, a brief shot of the disappointment and frustration as the doctor is given the boot, switch back to the court where a gavel comes down and at the sound, cut to a scary owl flying away from the court building (drone shot).

      And then…

    2. Indeed there may well be! I’m the doctor involved in the case and an update on this story is that I successfully appealed against the High Court judgement of £12,750 made against me in March 2019.

      [Details in this comment removed to avoid this blog getting involved in the legal battle, which happened with a different case in the past. – Xeno]

      … There was no ‘exorcism’…Pentecostal Christians don’t even use the term!! …

      Regards, Tom O’Brien

      1. Thank you for the update doctor. The accusations against you in the media are still out there in many articles. ( If accusations were incorrect, it would make sense to have your side of the story eventually told by that same media to restore your reputation. In reporting odd news, I’ve seen that sort of update happen in the past.
        In researching the point of there being no Pentecostal exorcism, for my own edification, I was interested to learn that Pentecostal Christians can experience speaking in real languages they do not know. This (known as xenoglossy or xenolalia) sounds like a good topic for a new post on this blog.
        Do you think such a think can happen? I’ve had a dream years ago where I was speaking fluently in Spanish, but I don’t know more than a few words now.
        Thanks for stopping by,

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