Anatomy Professor Ceri Davies, Imperial College
I first met Ceri Davies at St George’s hospital in London in 2004, where he was running a series of lecture days for complementary therapists. These sessions continued for many years organised by Amanda Hermitage who operated under the trading name of Anatomy on Cadavers.
Ceri Davies and other teachers such as myself were brought in by Amanda to run sessions on specific subjects which Amanda would promote to her mailing list.
When Ceri Davies left St George’s and went to Imperial College, these sessions went with him and continued until 2015. As Amanda Hermitage can confirm, Ceri Davies had tens of thousands of pounds paid into his personal bank account for the teaching of these classes over the years.
I started running dissection sessions at St George’s in 2007, continued these sessions at Imperial College London and taught alongside Ceri on many occasions. Cadavers used by medical students will be kept for two or so years and will then go on for cremation. Many of these cadavers will still have a considerable amount of their body in place, with legs, backs, necks and shoulders remaining virtually intact. This is the very material that manual and movement therapists are interested in and I was therefore able to teach anatomical approaches relevant to these disciplines, using material that would otherwise be destroyed. I was charged for lab hire by the university and brought revenue in to university departments at times when the facilities were not being used.
My classes have been hailed as the model of respect, with ground breaking content and impeccably behaved students. Every staff member at any institution who has ever witnessed my classes, have nothing but praise for the way they are run. One lab technician at St Georges commented that he would be happy to host my class every day of the week. Another hugely experienced staff member said that in his 45 years of experience, my classes were the best he had ever seen in terms of student engagement, respect, cleanliness and behaviour.
On many occasions whilst at St George’s and Imperial, Ceri Davies and I would at the end of the working day, go for drinks or dinner with either Amanda, some of the staff from the department or attendees from the class. On several other occasions, Ceri Davies and I have had lunch or dinner together and visited an exhibition. I, as would others, would have considered that we were friends. I also have visited his London flat on more than one occasion.
It is therefore an utter mystery as to why the good professor has, since 2016, used his elevated position within the world of anatomy, to try and systematically destroy my reputation and block my ability to run courses in the UK and overseas.
In doing so he has been untruthful, refused every offer to talk or meet and has not replied to several emails and registered letters that have been sent to him. He has stooped to defamatory behaviour, accusing me of criminal activity without presenting any evidence whatsoever.
His personal intervention in the Republic of Ireland, where he is the Inspector of Anatomy, caused a class of mine booked at University College Cork to be stopped at short notice. There was no explanation from the university, save to say that they could not host it following an inspection. Information was gained from a freedom of information request to the Medical Council of Ireland. Professor Davies’ main objections to my classes were that permission from the donors had not been sought for the class, that the attendees were unsuitable, that money was potentially being made from the running of the class and that I was not a qualified individual to run the class.
It is not clear whether the donors used by Professor Davies for many years had given their permission or whether the thousands of pounds paid into his personal account could be considered profit. I am paid for my knowledge and teaching skill and refute the insulting implication that I am making money from donor cadavers. The people who attended his classes who are of the same category, were not considered unsuitable for the many years he taught them. Also as I have been running dissection classes with his explicit approval for nearly a decade and with accolades from many within the field, it is quite unclear as to why he now has concerns regarding my qualifications where these were not present in 2007.
In June 2019 Professor Davies resigned as president of the Institute of Anatomical Sciences for whom I had served on the Council for a number of years. No explanation was given at the time. It recently transpires that in a letter on Imperial College paper, he had cited his reason for resigning as being unable to work with me, claiming that I was blackmailing him. The IAS, without asking for any further evidence, used this letter as one reason for voting me off the council, citing that I had a ‘conflict of interest’ whilst not demonstrating this to any degree.
The new president Steve Jacques accepted Professor Davies entirely at his word, requiring no burden of proof and instead using the famous scientific premise by stating, “there’s no smoke without fire.’ That the IAS sat on a letter for a year without releasing it and at the same time did nothing to attempt mediation between two of its members, is of itself something of a reflection of its approach.
The use of an unrelated Scottish press article as ‘evidence’ was offered together with a response to a manner in which I had spoken to a sponsor. All quite desperate kangaroo court stuff.
The Inspector of Anatomy for Scotland Gordon Findlater also became involved with whatever Prof Davies’ issue is or was. His first words to me when he came to inspect my class in 2019 was, “what have you done to upset Ceri Davies?” It’s not the first time I have heard this question and yet I can genuinely say that I have no idea. Whilst Professor Findlater at the time said that he had no problems with my class, he subsequently questioned ‘courses for profit’ in his published report that was later leaked to the Scottish Press and brought up as part of the IAS kangaroo court session. Again my argument that payment and profit are different things, fell on deaf ears.
I have written to Professor Davies on numerous occasions asking for the opportunity to establish exactly what has gone wrong and what I have done to so upset him to such an extent. I have had no reply. His complaint about the previous version of this web page was that it used his data and should be removed. He was invited to edit the content but declined.
Instead, the legal department of Imperial College wrote to tell me that Ceri Davies claimed that he barely knew me and had only ever had dinner with me on three occasions! Quite why one would mislead the legal department at one’s place of work is a mystery and whatever power he mistakenly believes I have over him is misguided and baffling.
Without any attempt to mediate, negotiate, discuss or compromise, Ceri Davies instead has conducted what appears to be a personal vendetta which has significantly affected me being able to run my classes in the UK and Ireland. His influence in the anatomy sector is strong and the likelihood of me being able to run a class is slim whilst he continues his actions. Yet he has not asked me to alter my behaviour or explained what I have done that has offended him to the extent he would resign from an association. He has not given me any kind of chance to reflect or adjust my approach, or to stop doing something other than trying to teach anatomy in a way that isn’t being taught at the moment. In short his behaviour is unacceptable and inappropriate.
The effort to keep therapists out of dissection labs is not new. Dr Ian Scott from Nottingham when going against the advice of his team and revoking my access to teaching at Nottingham University Hospital, said that he did not want, “these people” (meaning therapists) having access to cadavers, making extraordinary claims about osteopaths and chiropractors, “damaging people” and at the same time misrepresenting the Human Tissue Act.
Whether he had been in discussions with Professor Davies is unclear, but the ability to teach anatomy in a dissection room to the manual and movement therapy sector in the UK and Ireland has been effectively stopped by the actions and approaches of Ceri Davies, supported by those over whom he has influence.
In my letter to Professor Davies where I firstly apologised unreservedly for whatever it was I had unwittingly done, I suggested that the opportunity and need for this sector to be taught relevant anatomy could signal a new direction for anatomy study in the UK. I agreed that there is of course always the need for safeguards and checks to be in place, together protocols to ensure that donors wishes are granted and opt outs in permissions could be be easily drafted. I suggested that he could and should be part of this move forwards as part of a legacy of carefully opening up anatomical study to a wider audience.
Hundreds if not thousands of donors are turned away from medical schools in the UK every year and accepting some of these for the teaching of the CAM sector would allow for greater donor uptake and would not impact on donations meant for undergraduate study. The use of out of term times for teaching would bring in revenue for universities and where campus accommodation is available, attract even more efficient use of resources.
Having reservations about the way forward is understandable. Bullying someone and recruiting others to help you oppress a disabled student is not. Professor Davies actions have caused immense mental strain and pressure, affected my reputation and caused significant financial hardship. The option of bringing defamation proceedings against Professor Davies remains an option, but a preferred route would be discussion and agreement. This page comes at the end of a long struggle to try and communicate with someone who refuses to do so and in the absence of anyone who will intervene and mediate.
- seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable).“her 11- year-old son has been constantly bullied at school”
Similar: persecute, oppress, tyrannise, torment, browbeat, intimidate, cow, coerce strong-arm, subjugate