Practitioner loses right to practise after 19 counts of misconduct

Date: Sep 27, 2018

Medical professionals have a code of conduct to maintain when it comes to patients' health and wellbeing. Within this National Law, this also constitutes the correct administering and prescribing of medications. However, as highlighted in a case brought before the NSW District Court, this isn't always true.

Background of the case

The case focused on 19 separate complaints, put forward by 19 different patients of the practitioner. The defendant (the practitioner) was originally from Egypt, where he practised medicine for 10 years before migrating to Australia, where he continued to work.

While differing slightly in their accusations, all complaints shared a similar theme. All particulars allege that the practitioner incorrectly prescribed Schedule 8 drugs and poisons, which did not accord with clause 37 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008. These drugs fall under the controlled drugs category, and while predominantly used for therapeutic use, all have a high potential for addiction. Furthermore, with respect to some patients, the practitioner was alleged to have prescribed these addictive drugs to drug-dependant people.

It was also noted that the practitioner failed to maintain adequate medical records in accordance with the Health Practitioner Regulation 2010 for each of the patients involved in the case.

A medical report was relied upon by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) which included details of the treatment provided to each of the 19 patients. The court concluded that, in almost every case, the practitioner deserved strong criticism of his treatment methods and his standards were well below what would be expected of a medical practitioner.

Findings and the decision

After analysing all 19 complaints, the court found that the practitioner:

  • Often prescribed medication based solely on previous practitioners prescribing such drugs.
  • Accepted direction from a patient rather than forming his own independent decisions on the appropriateness of the treatment.
  • Often prescribed painkillers in high doses, without conducting adequate checks. 

The practitioner took full responsibility for his inappropriate prescribing, yet blamed his actions on his lack of training after coming to Australia from Egypt. The court noted that his actions were performed without illegal intent, yet they still breached the National Law. As a result of his misconduct, the practitioner's registration as a legal medical professional was cancelled and may not apply for a review for a period of 12 months. 

Have you suffered medical negligence? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Medical Negligence Claims Lawyers today to see how we can help. 

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