Therapist 'disgusted' at massage ruling

LAURA BASHAM
Last updated 11:58 10/06/2014
Luke Burke
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
FEELING BULLIED: Physiologist Eddie Saxon, with pictures of some of his hundreds of clients, says he will carry on despite a tribunal decision against him.

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An 87-year-old Nelson sports therapist is disgusted at a Human Rights Review Tribunal decision against him after he asked a patient if her buttock massage "felt good".

Eddie Saxon has been found to have breached the health and disability code after the woman complained to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Saxon, an exercise physiologist who has treated many notable sportsmen and sportswomen, said he found the decision "terribly disgusting" and that he would continue his work.

"I have done nothing wrong at all," he said. "I have nothing to hide."

The woman, whose name is suppressed, came to Saxon suffering from chronic sciatic nerve pain in her back.

She received satisfactory treatment on July 12, 2012, from Saxon so returned a week later for further treatment.

Before the July 19 treatment, Saxon did not inform the woman the treatment would involve her having to remove her clothing, including a period where she would be bare-chested, the tribunal decision said.

The woman had previously suffered sexual abuse and became increasingly uncomfortable throughout the treatment.

At one point, as Saxon was working on her gluteal (buttock) muscles, he asked her if the treatment "felt good". She felt uncomfortable about his tone and about the way in which he was massaging her exposed buttocks.

She left the clinic feeling angry and confused and did not return for subsequent treatments.

The tribunal found Saxon breached the code on five counts, including not informing her she would have to remove her clothing and not draping her when she was partially naked, leaving her in an exposed and vulnerable position.

His inappropriate comments were also found to have breached the code, and Saxon accepted, with the benefit of hindsight, they were inappropriate.

Saxon told the Nelson Mail he felt he had been bullied.

"I feel I am a victim of bureaucratic bullying. To me it is not fair. I am here to help.

"It's a sad business because I have been in Nelson so long. So many men and women have come to me from all over the country because I fix them."

Sportswomen he had helped included athlete Kate McIlroy, kitesurfer Cindy Mosey, basketballer Tatjana Vucinic, and sportsmen ranging from cyclist Hayden Roulston to former All Black John Kirwan.

The decision noted the woman had sought damages and that there had been a negotiated agreement between the parties.

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Saxon said he had paid "a significant" sum to the woman. "I agreed to give this woman money, as it was the only way I could bring it to an end."

He said he was mentally hurt and had suffered sleepless nights.

However, he hoped his good name would hold him in good stead in the community.

- The Nelson Mail

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