Mr Merchant was an oncologist who treated Sinead Tinker for the cervical cancer she was diagnosed with in October 2018. The impact of the news was doubly bad as Sinead had also been given the happier news that she was pregnant but the cancer meant that she should have a termination and also never be able to carry a child again.
She initially kept the diagnosis from her loved ones, including her husband Daniel Osbourne and it was only by chance that father-in-law Ken Barlow discovered the news. Her condition became more widely known after the collapsed at work with low blood pressure and anaemia and was rushed into Weatherfield General. Daniel was distraught to realise from Mr Merchant that his wife had declined immediate aggressive radiotherapy to avoid the death of her baby but there was a ray of hope in that with her now in her second trimester she could begin mild chemotherapy.
Mr Merchant outlined the procedure to her, saying she would have six cycles of the treatment at three weekly intervals with a caesarean birth taking place at thirty-three weeks. He tried to assure her that the process would not harm her baby but, again keeping the fact from all around her, she failed to attend any except the first of the chemotherapy sessions, opting instead for homeopathic treatment and being encouraged in doing so by Steff Mulvenney, a woman she met who was suffering breast cancer.
Sinead was devastated after a few weeks, and two missed chemo sessions, to find out that Steff was on the point of death, her choice of alternative medicine proving to be useless. She rushed to see Mr Merchant who told her they would restart her treatment tomorrow but was unable to give her any reassurances when she asked if she had made things worse. A scan was carried out prior to the treatment which showed that the cancer had grown and it was vital that the first session was carried out within hours.
Sinead's prevarication proved almost disastrous though as a scan was carried out in January 2019 which showed that the cancer hadn't responded to the treatment with a course of radiotherapy urgently needed instead. That meant that they baby would have to be delivered that day by caesarean, even though she was only at twenty-seven weeks, with a hysterectomy taking place later on. She and Daniel had no option but to accept Mr Merchant's advice and a premature Bertie Osbourne was born that afternoon.
- Credited as "Oncologist", the character's name was given in dialogue in his third appearance.
List of appearances