Junior doctor arrested after meltdown when he thought he would be late for job

A junior doctor is battling to save his career after he was arrested for driving the wrong way then leaping onto the bonnet of a police car starfish-fashion.

Andrew Sadler, 24, had been due to to start a shift in hospital but found it difficult to sleep the night before over worries he would be late.

He eventually got up at 1am and is thought to have been on his way to his shift in a sleep-deprived haze when he drove his Vauxhall Astra around a roundabout the wrong way with only his hazard lights on.

He then overtook a car at 70mph narrowly missing a pedestrian island and pulled over.

Police were alerted to his reckless driving in Sunderland, Tune and Wear on October 4 2018, just weeks after Sadler, from Gateshead, had completed his medical degree at Edinburgh University

When they arrived, he sprinted barefoot towards the car and threw himself onto the bonnet.

Police had to handcuff the junior medic and commented on him being incoherent and confused.

Sadler was later tested for drugs and alcohol but none was found in his system.

In May last year the doctor, who lives in Gateshead was convicted of dangerous driving and criminal damage to the police vehicle and was sentenced to eight months jail suspended for six months. He was also banned from driving for 20 months.

But he referred himself to the General Medical Council for a disciplinary hearing which could see him being struck off the doctor’s register. He has been working in palliative care at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton-on-Tees.

GMC lawyer Sarah Barlow told the Manchester hearing: ‘The two police officers describe how they saw the car with the hazard lights on and the doctor barefoot in the middle of the road. He was sprinting towards the police car and leapt onto the bonnet of the car in a starfish, attempting to hold the door shut so the police couldn’t get out.

‘The officers did get out and they handcuffed the doctor and dragged him off the car. All present described him as incoherent and confused. He himself mentioned he was under the influence of drugs and police took the view he was under the influence of drink or drugs or was having a psychotic episode as a result of his presentation.

‘He was taken by the police to hospital but a blood sample was taken which was negative for alcohol and drugs. The doctor was subsequently interviewed when he was fit to be interviewed, he made full admissions and expressed at the time he was under great deal of stress.

‘Whilst there is background there is no doubt he made a choice to get into that vehicle.’

Sadler told the hearing: ‘I feel great personal shame at having a criminal conviction – it is not something I ever expected.

‘The fact this has all happened has made me realise that things can and will go wrong and people can make mistakes, but the most important thing is how you react and cope with those mistakes.

‘It isn’t entirely clear what my thought processes were at the time thus happened, but I had been trying to fall asleep and kept jolting awake and I kept wondering whether I thought I was sleeping in and being late for work.’

His lawyer Catherine Stock said: ‘This was a single, one-off incident dating back some time. It was out of character incident and took place which as the doctor relayed over a set of overwhelming circumstances which are unlikely to be repeated.

‘He wasn’t thinking straight, wasn’t acting as he normally would and had some sort of breakdown. He has carried on his career despite the stresses and strains of being a junior doctor and he is now coping well.

‘He has changed his life around and he has worked with colleagues to get support. This is a young man, a dedicated young doctor with a lot to give.’

The hearing continues.