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Charge Characteristics

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Decision No: 97/11C
Practitioner: Name suppressed
Charge Characteristics: Inadequate communication.
Inadequate note taking
Failure to ensure a specimen examined
Failure to do a physical examination
Untenable diagnosis
Inadequate care
Failure to refer
Additional Orders: Granted application for private hearing :  9711chearpriminlaw
Doctor granted interim name suppression:  9711chearpriminlaw
Doctor granted permanent name suppression:  9711cfindingslaw
Decision: 9711cfindingslaw



The CAC charged that the Doctor was guilty of conduct unbecoming a medical practitioner which reflects adversely on his fitness to practise medicine. It charged that between 15 April and 27 April 1996 the Doctor failed to take any or proper steps to diagnose the condition of and/or prescribe adequate care and treatment for his patient who subsequently died on 27 April 1996. The specific allegations were:

  1. Failure to carry out a physical examination of the patient including a rectal examination;
  2. Failure to arrange for a urine sample to be taken for analysis especially on 15 and 18 April 1996;
  3. Ignoring or failing to recognise the seriousness of the patientís illness;
  4. Failing to place appropriate weight on the expressed concerns of the family as to their perception of the seriousness of the patientís illness;
  5. Failing to refer for specialist opinion;
  6. Failing to refer the patient for assessment at or admission to xx Hospital;
  7. Failing to provide effective pain relief;
  8. Failing to initiate the administration of intravenous or subcutaneous fluids when the patientís condition had deteriorated to the extent that the receipt of fluids orally was not effective;
  9. Maintaining a diagnosis of urinary tract infection after the diagnosis had become unsustainable;
  10. Keeping inadequate patient records.



The Tribunal found that the Doctor was not guilty of conduct unbecoming a medical practitioner which reflects adversely on his fitness to practise medicine.

The Tribunal noted that in this case the Doctor was faced with a complex, even puzzling case. It considered that there were shortcomings in relation to some aspects of the Doctor's clinical management of this case (brevity of his clinical recordings and measured pursuit of a diagnosis after his initial "query UTI" diagnosis became untenable) and his communication with the patient's family. The Tribunal was not satisfied that those shortcomings, either collectively or individually, constituted such a departure from acceptable professional standards as to warrant the sanction of a finding of conduct unbecoming.