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Those were just 'Big Bang Theory' lines, says doc facing suspension

Technically Incorrect: A doctor in the UK uses the television comedy as his defense for remarks to female co-workers.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


These aren't real people. You shouldn't automatically think that what they say is safe for work. Sonja Flemming / CBS

"I learned it from TV" isn't a defense that works often.

It was, however, a defense offered by a surgeon facing a tribunal that examined allegations of lewd conduct.

As the UK-based Telegraph reports, 48-year-old Tarek Hany works as a surgeon in the UK's National Health Service. He stood accused of using the sort of bon-mots that some people might only find bon in a sitcom.

Oddly enough, that's exactly where he says he got lines such as: "Are you from another planet? Because your a**e is out of this world." (I should explain that a**e in this context is better known as a** in the US.)

Some might recognize this line as one uttered by Howard Wolowitz on "Big Bang Theory."

The tribunal noted in its late August ruling: "You stated that you had used this phrase because you had heard it in an American TV comedy show called the 'Big Bang Theory' although you denied it had been said directly to Mrs. B."

Mrs. B is a pharmacist with whom Hany worked.

Hany, married with a child, was born in Egypt. He insisted that he hadn't been aware that telling a female doctor that she was a "total babe" was actually not flattering or welcome.

He also claimed that another aspect of technology had stimulated his dialogue. He said that the line: "Skinny girls look good in clothes, fit girls look good naked" came to him from a motivational app. Dr. C, with whom he worked, didn't find it motivating.

She was one of three women who made complaints against him for various comments, not all of which could have been attributed to the "Big Bang Theory." (Sample: Tapping a junior doctor's bottom and saying, "I got you in the right place. I'm going to get in trouble. You're probably going to sue me.")

The tribunal, which came to its decision on August 28, observed: "Whilst acknowledging that English is not your first language, the panel noted that you have worked in the UK since 2001 and have described that you liked to watch American TV shows. The panel considered it more likely than not that you understand this term and finds Dr. C's evidence entirely credible and reliable."

The incidents happened between July 2012 and August 2013.

Hany received a 28-day suspension from practicing medicine on September 14. However, a spokeswoman for the General Medical Council told me that the suspension had not yet been enforced. Hany has 28 days to appeal. Only after that time can the suspension become active.

He was dismissed from the Southport and Ormskirk NHS Hospital Trust in February 2014.

Neither Hany nor the hospital trust were immediately available for comment.

There may well be people who believe that whatever is said by a TV character, especially an intelligent character, must be all right in real life. Regardless, Hany could also have noticed that the nerds in "Big Bang Theory" actually have no clue when it comes to dealing with social life or their target gender.

The panel put in another way: "Your sexually motivated behavior fell below the standards expected of you and would be regarded as deplorable by fellow practitioners."