Doctors caught having sex with their patients, as well as using and wrongly prescribing addictive drugs - the New South Wales Medical Board's annual report makes an appalling reading.
The report, published Friday, provides a snapshot of complaints against practitioners and published the names of several doctors either struck off the register, reprimanded or who had restrictions placed on their practice.
AdvertisementThe Medical Tribunal heard complaints against 17 doctors, six of whom were later deregistered, 10 had conditions imposed on their registration, nine were reprimanded and two were fined.
These included Adrian Cohen, a Sydney GP who treated people on the reality show Survivor and has appeared on Oprah. He was fined $15,000 for procuring drugs and was caught using pharmaceutical-grade cocaine that he had obtained by using patients' names.
The anaesthetist Leonard Ware was reprimanded over a criminal conviction for possessing unlicensed firearms, for which he was jailed for a year.
A former Shellharbour GP, Nicholas Kalokerinos, 48, was struck off for three years for prescribing addictive drugs to 15 patients and for sexual advances to a 17-year-old patient during a six-hour drive and at his home.
John Gawdat Shashati, who admitted a drug addiction, was struck off for overprescribing to 11 patients and lying at hearings.
Steven Goodman was struck off for giving drug-addicted patients at Redfern Street Medical Centre huge doses of highly addictive sedatives in a bizarre treatment program.
The western Sydney abortionist Suman Sood was struck off for 10 years for an illegal abortion because she failed to ask the necessary questions of her patient beforehand.
The tribunal rejected an application for a review by a former Clovelly doctor, Michael Bar-Mordecai, who was struck off for seven years for having sex with a patient 36 years his senior, wrongly obtaining millions of dollars from her and administering 30 milligrams of morphine to her and signing her death certificate.
Bruce Litchfield had his application rejected. He was removed from the register in 1997 for having sex with four female patients.
Other matters in which doctors were reprimanded or counselled included a GP who had a consensual sexual relationship with his receptionist, an emergency doctor who later formed a relationship with a patient he had treated, an alcoholic psychiatrist who was drunk during a consultation, a doctor who shoplifted while drunk and two doctors, including a rural solo GP, for self-injecting pethidine. Two GPs were facing criminal charges of indecent assault of female patients and one was convicted of rape and assault, but not of a patient.
Overall, 1155 complaints were assessed by the board and the Health Care Complaints Commission, which declined to deal with 53 per cent of them.
About one-third of the 55 investigated matters were referred for prosecution. The most complaints, 48 per cent, related to clinical competence, followed by conduct, which accounted for 26 per cent.
Separately from the tribunal, 17 doctors were referred to a professional standards committee and 20 hearings held, resulting in nine doctors having unsatisfactory professional conduct findings against them, relating to such matters as diagnosis, treatment and record keeping.
Under the board's emergency provisions, it investigated 35 inquiries, and 12 doctors had their registration urgently suspended, 19 had conditions imposed and two doctors removed their names from the register.