When a Doctor takes advantage of a vulnerable patient
Sarah immigrated to Australia after meeting and quickly marrying her husband overseas. The newlywed couple moved frequently due to her husband’s work. Sarah found it difficult to make friends and developed an eating disorder not long after arriving in Australia.
After the birth of their first child and whilst pregnant with their second, they moved to a large regional town and began attending a new family GP. The GP began making unwelcome remarks to Sarah and stared at her legs. Meanwhile, Sarah was still having problems with her eating disorder and was referred by her anti-natal team at the hospital to a psychiatrist who told her GP to refer her to a dietician.
Over the next year she received various treatments and medications for her eating disorder, anxiety and depression. Then her GP started hugging her at the end of consultations, tried to kiss her on the cheek and on her mouth, despite Sarah saying “I’m married”. The GP then friended her on facebook, and continued to make inappropriate comments, gestures and physical advances towards her.
Unfortunately, Sarah suffered a miscarriage and shortly after the GP continued to make inappropriate comments and advances. Meanwhile, Sarah’s mental health was deteriorating. She asked her GP to stop his advances. Despite this he invited her to a social event shortly after Sarah’s husband learned of the situation, creating problems with their relationship which resulted in Sarah attempting to hurt herself and being admitted to the mental health ward at the local Hospital.
When Sarah felt well enough, she reported the GPs conduct to the Health Care Complaints Commission. He was subsequently found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct and his registration was cancelled for a short time.
The GP not only breached the sacred doctor-patient relationship but in doing so he failed to adequately treat his patient at a time when she needed vital mental health treatment. The GP should have, as soon as he realised he had feelings for his patient, referred her to another GP. Her treatment was always a priority.
The Law Office of Conrad Curry is passionate in ensuring that those suffering from health conditions receive appropriate treatment. If you have been a victim or suffered loss as a result of medical negligence, call us today to speak to our friendly team.