|Practitioner:||Dr Julian Meredith Clive White|
|Characteristics of Charges:|| Inappropriate
Breach of privacy
Inadequate informed consent
Failure to ensure specimen examined
Failure to action test results
Altered treatment without proper reason
Inadequate care and treatment
Inadequate physical examination
Failure to ensure medical care available
Pressure on patient for financial gain
|Additional Orders:||All patients and complainants
granted interim name suppression: 9836cfindingslaw
All patients and complainants granted permanent name suppression: 9836cfindingssuplaw
Doctor denied name suppression: 9836cfindingssuplaw
A CAC charged Dr White with five charges alleging he was guilty of the following:
(The charges marked with an * are as amended by the Tribunal)
Prior to the hearing Dr White admitted each particular and that particular amounted either to conduct unbecoming or professional misconduct, as charged by the CAC.
The Tribunal found Dr White was guilty of conduct unbecoming a medical practitioner which reflects adversely on his fitness to practice medicine, professional misconduct and disgraceful conduct.
The Tribunal reached a unanimous guilty decision on all of the particulars except the fourth particular of Charge A, which was a majority decision.
The Tribunal elevated the level of misconduct of the fourth and fifth particulars of Charge B from professional misconduct to disgraceful conduct. It applied the test for disgraceful conduct established by the full court in Brake v Preliminary Proceedings Committee, (8 August 1996, Full Court Auckland, HC 169/95). The Tribunal held that the prevention of infection and cross-infection is fundamental to basic medical practice. The doctor/patient relationship must be based on the patient's expectation that the doctor will try to do his or her best for the patient under all circumstances. A doctor using a dirty needle, deliberately and knowingly injecting a patient with a needle contaminated with the bodily fluids of another patient, is deliberately putting the patient at risk of death or tremendous suffering. The Tribunal regarded such behaviour as repugnant.
When Dr White ignored the standard practice of washing his hands following one surgical procedure before embarking on another he deliberately and knowingly exposed his patients to the risk of life threatening infections. The Tribunal found Dr White's standard of practice had fallen to an appalling level.
The Tribunal also elevated the level of misconduct of Charge E from professional misconduct to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect. It found the charge illustrated a callous disregard for patient safety. Dr White left a message on the answer phone deliberately designed to mislead patients. The altered message meant patients might not have received urgent treatment which they required or alternatively such treatment might have been delayed. The Tribunal held that for a doctor to do this knowingly and in a premeditated fashion was absolutely disgraceful.
With the consent of Dr White the Tribunal arranged for Dr White to undergo psychiatric, psychological and physical medicine examinations.
A decision as to penalties was reserved. The Tribunal ordered that Dr White's registration be suspended pending determination of the proceedings.
Supplementary Penalty Order:
In a supplementary penalty decision the Tribunal ordered that Dr White’s suspension order be vacated and that his name be removed from the Register. It further ordered that Dr White be censured, pay $23,000 towards the costs and expenses of the inquiry and hearing, and publication of the hearing in the New Zealand Medical Journal.
The Tribunal recommended that the Medical Council exercise extreme care and caution in considering any application by Dr White for reinstatement to the Register. The Tribunal also recommended that if Dr White was reinstated to the Register, mechanisms to ensure patient safety must be put into place.
The Tribunal considered the question of whether it was open to Dr White to refuse to answer questions at the hearing. It followed Bowen-James v Walton (NSW, Court of Appeal, unreported 5/8/91) and found that Dr White had no right to silence or privilege against self incrimination in hearings before the Tribunal.