The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in New Zealand said that a doctor who misdiagnosed a case of bowel cancer in a patient was guilty of professional misconduct. The patient later died and the doctor tried to explain away his failure by changing medical documents.
The tribunal said that the doctor was order to pay fines of $15,000 and costs of $20,000. "The tribunal believes that it was totally inappropriate for Dr N to make those additional entries without clearly recording that they were made retrospectively. No one reading the notes would appreciate that the entries were complained of were only made after it was realized Ms Duncan had bowel cancer," it said in a statement.
The doctor was identified only as Dr N failed to diagnose the cancer in Virginia Duncan, 43 who died in February 2003. The doctor did not order blood tests and a colonoscopy and then tried to cover-up by making undated and retrospective additions to her medical notes.
"On the contrary, Dr N is more likely to have down-played Dr Potter's concerns and recommendations which were not consistent with Dr N's view that Ms Duncan probably had irritable bowel syndrome," the tribunal said.