Doctors behaving badly

When I found the Royal Australian Society of Professional Discipline (which will have a nice little commission going to whichever dominatrix is willing to pay the most for referrals of callers with the wrong idea), I will open it in the hinterland of the Gold Coast.  That’s a nicer place to be than the Coast itself, which is where a high proportion of Australia’s dodgy professionals are, and hence many of their victims.  I once went to the Coast for a conference. I was attracted to the idea of ripping open the seedy underbelly of the place.  I couldn’t find it.  Anyway, the latest chapter in the disciplining of Coastal professionals is reported here.  A 78 year old doctor prescribed ‘non-conventional’ cancer cures to a lot of people.  The authorities started investigating.  He had himself removed from the register of doctors.  That did not dissuade them.  A trial was held to discipline him.  He did not attend, and sent along as his advocate a friend and former cancer sufferer.  He was told not to apply for permission to practise again for 3 years.  Read on for another 4 reports of doctors behaving badly.Eight years ago, a Hobart doctor had sex with a patient in his rooms while she was under the influence of a drug he had prescribed.  He was suspended for 8 months, fined $5,000, and ordered to pay costs.  It would have been kind of the ABC to caption the photo lest the public be misled into thinking that the doctor was flanked by his wife and the former patient.  Hint to professionals: never allow anyone associated with you to wear sunglasses to your disciplinary hearing.

Few things are as infuriating as doctors who keep you waiting.  The Herald Sun kindly brings us news of this doctor who repeatedly kept his patient waiting for 45 minutes, even after the patient had rung ahead to enquire how the list was looking.  The patient expressed his displeasure and the doctor ‘pushed him against the wall and [the patient] fell to his hands and knees and then … [the doctor] tried three times to drag him towards the door.’ The patient was left the patient in tears. In a review at VCAT of his disciplinary session (Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria v Dr John S [2009] VCAT 419), the doctor denied dragging his patient.  There are three possible explanations for VCAT’s finding that he did do so: 1.  VCAT ascertained the facts wrongly; 2.  the doctor lied; and 3. the doctor forgot this detail about something which happened 19 months ago.

In Ireland, they’ve just started holding medical disciplinary hearings in public.  The first such hearing involved a doctor who suggested his patient engage in a bit of ‘rumpy pumpy’ to help her sleep.  The Fitness for Practice Committee found no professional misconduct.

In the 1960s and 70s, a former Eltham GP sexually abused two boys aged 12 and 14, in the case of one of the boys while he was a doctor. He has had his registration cancelled and told not to reapply for 12 months.  He spent time in jail, but new complaints against him are said to be under investigation.  The Age‘s article is here.  A statement by the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria is here.

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