Stories of Note from the Doctor's Surgery; BOOKS BBC Breakfast's Dr Rosemary Leonard Has Seen a Lot of Changes during Her Time as a GP. She Tells HANNAH STEPHENSON about Her Own Dramas, Including Being Stalked
Byline: HANNAH STEPHENSON
THERE was nothing alarming about the visitor limping with a crutch towards Dr Rosemary Leonard's house. After all, the BBC Breakfast doctor lives a near her surgery and patients often try to catch her at home.
But when her sons Thomas and William, then aged 14 and 12, opened the front door, the stranger barged in and chased them upstairs, threatening them with the crutch and demanding to know where the valuables were kept.
"The boys are used to patients coming to the door and the man had hobbled up. They'd seen him through the window and they yelled, 'What is it?' He said, 'I've come to see Dr Leonard, is she around?' They assumed he was Sa patient."
He forced the boys into Dr Leonard's bedroom and said he'd beat them up if they didn't tell him where the jewellery was. At that point Thomas made a run for it, racing to the vicarage next door, where the vicar called the police.
Dr Leonard, meanwhile, a single mum at the time, had just popped to the supermarket for milk. When she returned, the house was surrounded by police. The intruder had fled and was never caught.
The event made her and her sons feel extremely vulnerable for a long time afterwards.
"The fact he'd been watching and waiting spooked us all," she recalls. "Victim Support spoke to the boys but they were very measured about it and felt it was their fault for opening the door. They were very shaken up. They realised they were extremely lucky."
After that, she changed the entrance security system and made a rule that on no account were the boys to answer the door to strangers.
"As a result, people coming to read the gas meter have a terribly hard time with us," she says, smiling.
This all happened years ago, and the worrying tale is just one of the true stories recounted in her latest book, Doctor's Notes, about life in her surgery as she recalls some of her most puzzling, and often humorous, cases.
"I'm very hard to shock," Dr Leonard, 57, admits.
Her book features a few raunchy tales, including questions of paternity, the insertion of an Easter egg in an intimate region, and issues involving manhood.
She's also encountered her share of badly behaved, even violent patients during her 25 years as a GP.
"I've been thumped, I've been threatened. And the worst thing is the verbal abuse.
"I have a stalker at the moment who lives in Yorkshire, but the police have been very good," she adds. "He's seen me on telly and keeps writing letters to the surgery. There was a time when he started coming down to the surgery, which is when we started taking action. …