Dr banned for sexual misconduct and bad prescribing

Tuesday, 02 June, 2020

Dr banned for sexual misconduct and bad prescribing

A Victorian doctor’s registration has been cancelled until 2025 following findings of sexual misconduct and inappropriately prescribing drugs of dependence.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Dr Christopher Bradshaw engaged in a personal and sexual relationship with a female patient ‘XY’ and inappropriately prescribed her Schedule 8 medications, including in circumstances when Dr Bradshaw ought to have known that XY had, or was at risk of developing, drug dependence. This included prescribing medications without sufficient clinical assessment, in excessive quantities, without sufficient consultation with XY’s other doctors, and when they were not clinically indicated.

Yesterday, the Tribunal immediately cancelled Dr Bradshaw’s registration and determined that he should spend eight years out of practice before he can reapply for registration.

Dr Bradshaw has been suspended since October 2017, when the Medical Board of Australia received a notification about the matter. He previously had conditions on his registration relating to similar behaviour with another patient.

XY first consulted Dr Bradshaw in 2008 in relation to a hip injury. When the personal and sexual relationship commenced in 2011, Dr Bradshaw was aware that XY was vulnerable and depressed because of her hip problem and the impacts it had on her personal and working life. Dr Bradshaw also became aware of XY’s history of family violence. The patient died in 2017.

“The breach involved a patient who was vulnerable and who was known by Dr Bradshaw to be vulnerable, even if he did not know at first about her family violence history,” the Tribunal noted.

“The power imbalance was accentuated by XY’s emotional vulnerability and her relatively young age.”

Medical Board of Australia Chair Dr Anne Tonkin said when individual doctors abused their patients’ trust, the reputation of the whole profession suffered.

“Sexual boundary violations are a serious betrayal of patients’ trust and are never acceptable.

“While the devastating consequences in this case can never be repaired, I hope the Tribunal decision is an effective deterrent,” Dr Tonkin said.

Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said, “This is a tragic case. Any abuse of power completely betrays the trust patients place in their health practitioners.”

Ahpra encourages anyone with concerns about a practitioner to check the register of practitioners or make a notification.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/sebra

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