A doctor was attacked by the daughter of an elderly hospital patient after she was told that her mother may have cancer.

Arlene McKenzie, who insisted she should have been told first, punched and kicked consultant Sam Allen after demanding: “Do you call yourself a doctor?”

McKenzie, 53, repeatedly tried to grab the medic and dug her nails into his arm before hitting him with her bag.

The assault only ended when a nurse rushed in, alerted by Dr Allen’s calls for help.

Dr Allen had earlier broken the news to McKenzie’s mother after she asked about an abnormality on her chest X-ray, following her admission with weight loss.

He met McKenzie in an office at Crosshouse Hospital in Ayrshire and noted she was “visibly upset and angry”, with a “very stern face and cross look”.

Dr Allen, 54, told Kilmarnock Sheriff Court: “I was trying to connect with her but was being told, ‘What gives you the right to speak to (her mother) Mrs Molloy?’

“She asked me how long I’d been qualified and she said, ‘Do you call yourself a doctor?’ She said I should have spoken to her first.

“I tried to explain her mother had asked me a straight question and it was her mother’s autonomy to ask me that question.”

Dr Allen was unaware McKenzie had power of attorney over her mother’s affairs but added: “Even if there is power of attorney it is still the patient’s right to have their questions answered. 

They were sensible questions that she asked me. “I tried to apologise to Mrs McKenzie and I did apologise several times but she didn’t accept them. There’s always ways you can break bad news better.

“She did mention power of attorney and also said her mother had dementia. I asked if there was anything else she wanted to know and the meeting finished.

“As I was bending to stand up I was hit in the face by a fist. She must have got up already.

“After the fist I was kicked in the shins. I don’t know how many times I was hit because she then used her bag to hit me.”

Dr Allen, a consultant in infectious diseases, added: “She grabbed my arm and dug her nails into my upper arm. I put my hands up to defend myself.

“She started swinging the bag at me. She was trying to hit my face or head with the bag.

“It was a shock and after the first hit I called for help. I’d never experienced it before.”

As McKenzie was escorted from the office she went face to face with Dr Allen, said “boo” and stuck out her tongue.

A nurse brought an ice pack for swelling below his left eye, Dr Allen said, adding he was left shaken with a large bruise on his shin and scratch marks on his arm that drew blood.

Nurse Laura Paterson told the court she rushed into the office to help and saw McKenzie attacking Dr Allen while yelling: ‘You’re a monster, a beast.”

Sheriff George Jamieson found McKenzie guilty of assault. She was fined £700 and ordered to pay Dr Allen £700 compensation.