Practitioner faces restrictions on his registration following misconduct

Date: Jun 05, 2019

Medical negligence isn't just reserved for mistakes and professional misconduct that occur in the operating room. This term covers a broad range of scenarios, including medical professionals who cross the boundaries between work and personal life.

This was evident in a recent case brought before the Civil and Administrative Tribunal of NSW, where a practitioner was found guilty of breaching his duty of care with one of his patients.

Background of the complaints

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) brought four complaints against a practitioner on August 9, 2018. The complaints related to the medical professional's treatment and involvement with one of his patients in 2016.

Background of the doctor

The practitioner was born in 1968 and registered to practise in 2000, commencing his psychiatric training in 2002. The tribunal discovered he had difficult relationships with his family and had a history of gambling.

Specifics of the complaints

The practitioner first consulted with the patient on January 21, 2016 at the request of the patient's then GP, for a review of potential bipolar affective disorder.

The background of the complaints brought against the practitioner are in relation to boundary-crossing with the patient. Some of the particulars include:

  • Knowing the patient was a regular gambler, and speaking with the man on several occasions when the practitioner saw him at the casino.
  • During these occasions, encouraging him to gamble and attend the casino.
  • Asking to borrow money from the patient.
  • Offering the patient alcohol during consultations.
  • Discussing his own medication with the patient.

Specifically, the HCCC claimed the practitioner engaged in conduct that was significantly below the standard reasonably expected of a practitioner of an equivalent level of training or experience. Furthermore, the commission that he engaged in improper and unethical conduct relating to the practise of psychiatry.

What did the tribunal decide?

On November 25, 2016, a hearing was conducted determining that conditions should be imposed on the practitioner's registration. These included limiting the number of patients he could see, the number of days he could work and preventing him from seeing new patients, unless supervised. 

The practitioner argued that preventing him from seeing new patients would impose a financial burden on him. 

However, the tribunal felt that supervision was a necessary term of the conditions. As a result, the conditions were enforced on the practitioner's registration.

If you feel that a medical professional has breached their duty of care towards you, it's important to explore your options. For more information on medical negligence claims, get in touch with the expert legal team at Gerard Malouf & Partners today. 

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.