Jose Mourinho’s treatment of first-team doctor Eva Carneiro after she rushed on field to treat an injured player has been universally condemned by fans, the media, and medical professionals. The doctor has been stripped of her current role and is no longer allowed to attend matches.
On Saturday, during the English Premier League’s match against Swansea City, Chelsea player Eden Hazard was injured as the teams were at a 2-2 draw. Reports show that Carneiro was clearly beckoned onto the field by referee Michael Oliver to attend to the player, but that has done little to curb the anger of Mourinho. Mourinho lost his temper as Carneiro and physiotherapist Jon Fearn went onto the pitch and went on record to state his disapproval.
“I wasn’t happy with my medical staff because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game. If you go to the pitch to assist a player, then you must be sure that a player has a serious problem…My medical department left me with eight fit outfield players in a counter-attack after a set piece and we were worried we didn’t have enough players left.”
Mourinho’s anger stems from the fact that once Hazard was seen by medical professionals, he would have been required to leave the field for a short period of time. Chelsea was already down one player after a red card against goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had left them down to 10 players.
However, Carneiro has an oath to uphold that goes far beyond her employer’s wishes. The General Medical Council (GMC), which governs all registered and practicing medical doctors in Britain, lays out clear guidelines of behavior. Medical personnel are required to “take prompt action if you think that patient safety, dignity or comfort is being compromised.” Thus, regardless of Mourinho’s wishes, both Carneiro and Fearn were obliged to take action once signaled.
A previous commentary has given voice to suspicions that Mourinho is only using strife with Carneiro as a means to an end to deflect from Chelsea performance issues. The theory would go a long way to explain the unjustified anger.
Indeed, former head of Liverpool’s sports medicine department, Peter Brukner, gave a statement to talkSPORT showing his own disbelief that actions were taken against the medical staff.
“I thought it was appalling behaviour by the manager. The medical staff deserve a public apology, and I’m very disappointed the club hasn’t come out and done something to support them — they were just doing their job. Our first priority as doctors and physio is the health and safety of the individual player and that’s what they were attending to. They were doing their job and they’ve been criticised very publicly.”
The club has declined to comment on the actions of Mourinho, stating only that it would not “comment on internal staffing matters.”
Carneiro has served as first team doctor since 2011 and worked with two other Chelsea managers prior to Mourinho. One of only a small number of women in a first-team EPL, she has had to fight against sexist abuse and stereotyping multiple times. Carneiro is very well respected among her peers and the players.
On Sunday, Carneiro posted a message on her Facebook page thanking “the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated.”
Reports show that although Carneiro will remain in her post as first-team doctor, she will no longer be in attendance at games or training sessions. She will subsequently not be in attendance for Sunday’s EPL trip to Manchester City. She will also be continuing her work with first-team players at the London club’s training ground in Cobham, Surrey.
Chelsea has not announced who will take Carneiro’s place at the match on Sunday following the restrictions placed on her by Mourinho.
[Photo Courtesy of Paul Gilham/ Getty Images]