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Decision No: 00/57D
Practitioner: Name suppressed
Charge Characteristics: Lied to a person entitled to know about the
patient's condition
Inadequate consultation
Inappropriate and/or inadequate communication
Inadequate treatment and test results
Failure to act on symptoms
Additional Orders: Doctor granted interim name suppression:
Doctor granted permanent name suppression:  0057dfindingssuplaw
Decision: 0057dfindingslaw
Decision with Reasons: 0057dfindingssuplaw



The Director of Proceedings charged that a Doctor was guilty of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect in that:

  1. In the course of treating a patient at an Accident and Medical Centre on 20 April 1997 he failed:
  1. to take any or proper steps to investigate, diagnose or treat the cause and symptoms of illness presented by the patient;
  2. to take any steps to investigate, diagnose or treat the cause or causes of an abnormally low reading of the patient's blood pressure together with an elevated temperature and general weakness;
  3. to explain adequately or at all to the patient or his wife or daughter the true nature of his condition or to advise on a course of remedial treatment.
  1. Subsequently for the purposes of misleading the Health and Disability Commissioner when undertaking an investigation into his conduct under Part IV Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 the Doctor:
  1. prepared and presented to the Commissioner a false handwritten note purporting to record the text of a consultation with a medical registrar at a hospital either during or immediately following his consultation with the patient;
  2. advised the Commissioner falsely that he had obtained a second and favourable reading of the patient's blood pressure before completion of his consultation with him;
  3. advised the Commissioner falsely that at the time of the patient's departure from the Accident and Medical Centre his consultation with him had not concluded.




The Doctor saw the patient at an after-hours centre late at night. Part way through the consultation the Doctor left the room to attend a different patient. The patient, in this case, thought his consultation was over and left the consultation room. His daughter paid at the reception for the consultation and the patient, his wife and daughter left the after-hours centre. The Doctor claimed the consultation had not been completed but he did not feel a need to contact the patient as the Doctor was satisfied the advice he had given the patient was sufficient.

The patient died the next morning of obscure causes. The Doctor claimed he had made two pages of notes at the time or shortly after the consultation. The Director of Proceedings alleged that the Doctor fabricated page 2 of his notes after he was told of the patient's death. It was accepted by the expert doctor for the Director of Proceedings that if the Doctor had treated the patient according to the notes made on page 1 and page 2 of the notes the treatment offered to the patient was adequate.




The Tribunal found the Doctor not guilty of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect, and accordingly found the charge should be dismissed.

The Tribunal thought it was unfortunate that the patient was left in the consultation room without being told the Doctor intended to come back. However, the Tribunal found the Doctor to be a truthful witness and was satisfied that page 2 of the notes was genuine and not a fabrication. Therefore it found the care the Doctor provided to the patient was of an acceptable standard, so neither particular 1 nor particular 2 were established.