|Practitioner:||Dr Keith Bradford Laubscher|
|Additional Orders:||Doctor granted interim name
Doctor declined permanent name suppression: 05128cfindingslaw
Doctor appealed the Tribunal's decision to decline permanent name suppression to the District Court . The Court dismissed the appeal relating to name suppression and referred back to the Tribunal a condition for reconsideration. (K v CAC, District Court Wellington, CIV 2005-085-1272, Walker J, 29 June 2006,).
The Doctor appealed the District Court Decision regarding name suppression to the High Court.
The Doctor abandoned the appeal. The High Court dismissed the appeal due to the abandonment (Laubscher v CAC, High Court Wellington, CIV-2006-485-1632, SC Le'aupepe, Deputy Registrar, 8 June 2007)
|Minute:||05128cminute - amendment of condition|
A Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC) charged Dr K with professional misconduct. The charge alleged that between October 2003 and April 2004 Dr K forged on a number of prescriptions the signature of another medical practitioner in order to enable him to obtain pethidine for his own use from a pharmacist.
In 2003 Dr K approached another practitioner (Dr A) at the clinic where he rented a room and asked her to sign a prescription for pethidine for a patient. Dr A signed the prescription and continued to do so on a number of occasions until she was warned by a pharmacist that it was not wise for her to sign prescriptions for Dr K’s patients.
In April 2004 a pharmacist contacted Dr A and showed her a prescription which had purportedly been signed by her. She realised immediately that her signature on the prescription was a forgery. A number of other prescriptions were examined and it became apparent that Dr A’s signature had been forged on several occasions.
Dr K subsequently admitted forging Dr A’s signature four times.
Dr K had a narcotic (opioid) dependence since 1992 and has been monitored by the Health Committee of the Medical Council (the Health Committee) since that time. Dr K has undergone various treatment programmes for his addiction since 1992. In the past Dr K had not used opiates for several years. He suffered a relapse in April 2003 which was discovered when his forging of prescriptions came to light.
After it was discovered Dr K forged the prescriptions he voluntarily withdrew from practice for about two months. He returned to work in July 2004 subject to a number of conditions and undertakings given to the Medical Council. Mid way though 2004 Dr K attended two residential treatment programmes at the Capri Trust in Auckland.
Dr K is following a comprehensive ongoing care programme and the Health Committee is satisfied Dr K is fit to practise medicine
Dr K pleaded guilty. The Tribunal unanimously found Dr K guilty of professional misconduct.
The Tribunal was of the view that Dr K’s actions did constitute professional misconduct for the following reasons:
The Tribunal considered Dr K’s actions justified disciplinary sanction for the purpose of maintaining professional standards and punishing Dr K.
The Tribunal gave careful consideration to suspending Dr K. One member of the Tribunal believed Dr K should be suspended and to this extent disagreed with the decision of the majority of the Tribunal.
The reasons one Tribunal member believed Dr K should be suspended and the other Tribunal members considered ordering he be suspended were:
The reasons why the majority decided not to suspend Dr K were:
The Tribunal ordered Dr K to practise under the following 17 conditions for the next three years.
The Tribunal noted the Dr K should be left in no doubt that failure to comply with these conditions and/or repeat offending would be viewed very seriously by the Tribunal and would be likely to result in his suspension.
Censure Fine and Costs
The Tribunal recorded its condemnation of Dr K by formally censuring him. The Tribunal did not impose a fine as Dr K’s financial circumstances were difficult.
Dr K recognised that it was appropriate he pay a contribution towards the costs of the hearing. The Tribunal ordered Dr K pay $4,148.50 which was 25% of the costs of the CAC and the Tribunal. In setting the costs order the Tribunal took the following points into account:
The District Court referred back a condition (number seven above) to the Tribunal for reconsideration. The Tribunal issued a minute altering the condition slightly, so that Dr K is now responsible for ensuring that the staff who should be aware of the conditions on his ability to practise are notified of the conditions.
The Doctor appealed the District Court Decision regarding name suppression to the High Court. The Doctor abandoned the appeal. The High Court adjudged that a Notice of Abandonment having been filed the appeal was taken to have been dismissed pursuant to Rule 712(2) High Court Rules. (Laubscher v CAC, High Court Wellington, CIV-2006-485-1632, SC Le'aupepe, Deputy Registrar, 8 June 2007).