A doctor who improperly supplied cephalexin to two different girlfriends to treat their UTIs, and engaged in sexual activity during hospital shifts, has had his bid for reinstatement denied
A 34-year-old doctor has had his application for reinstatement rejected, after it was cancelled in March 2018 over complaints of professional misconduct.
The University of Sydney graduate was working as a hospital intern in a country town beginning in 2014, about the same time he developed a personal relationship with a woman (Patient A), with whom he was living.
During the first month of his internship, the doctor was found to have supplied Patient A with cephalexin to treat her recurring urinary tract infection.
Patient A gave evidence before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal that the doctor had given her the medicine after he came home from work, and the box was labelled with someone else’s name.
He denied the allegations, saying he did not have access to cephalexin in that role and that he was not “in the habit of getting medication for girlfriends”.
During the same month, the then intern was found to have ordered a blood test for Patient A in the hospital he worked at – despite not being rostered on at the time, and not being her treating doctor.
Patient A had been seen by two other medical practitioners who had decided she did not need a blood test.
The doctor ordered one anyway, submitting the request in the name of another doctor at the hospital.
He then helped to communicate the blood test results to Patient A, despite not carrying out any clinical assessment or investigation.
Before the tribunal, the doctor pointed the finger at Patient A, saying she had been the one to request the blood test—and denying that he had attempted to interpret the results.
He later admitted that he had.
In November 2014, the doctor met another woman, Patient B, through a dating website. She was also a resident of the country town in which his workplace was situated.
It was found the doctor had again obtained quantities of cephalexin from the hospital and provided it to Patient B between November 2014 and August 2015—allegations which he denied.
He had also prescribed trimethoprim and amitriptyline in circumstances where he was in a personal relationship with the patient, and without making appropriate clinical records.
A lack of honesty and frankness in the context of the practice of medicine poses an obvious risk to patients.—NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Furthermore, he was found to have twice engaged in sexual activity with Patient B at the hospital while he was rostered on shift, during his meal breaks.
The doctor first denied that he had ever engaged in such activity.
However he eventually admitted the conduct and “reluctantly conceded that he has always known to have sex in a meal break was unacceptable,” since he would have been required to respond if there had been an emergency call out.
Altogether the complaints added up to professional misconduct.
In his bid for reinstatement, the doctor admitted he had failed to conduct appropriate treatment of Patients A and B, and failed to keep proper records in relation to them.
However the tribunal found that in cross examination, the doctor “consistently failed to acknowledge, much less address, his dishonesty in his response to the HCCC and in his statement to the original tribunal”.
“The applicant demonstrated before us a profound unwillingness to admit to obvious instances of his dishonesty and a strong tendency to revert to ‘explanations’ which are transparently self-serving and well outside the range of reasonable behaviour,” the tribunal said in handing down its decision on Thursday.
“A lack of honesty and frankness in the context of the practice of medicine poses an obvious risk to patients. A medical practitioner must be able to deal with the suggestion that he or she may have made a mistake in an open and forthright manner.”
The tribunal found that the doctor poses a danger to the public, and is not a fit and proper person to be registered as a medical practitioner.
He application for reinstatement was refused, and he was ordered to pay costs to the Medical Council of NSW.