Doctor fined over stillborn delivery

  • 19/10/2016
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal censured the doctor (file)
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal censured the doctor (file)

A doctor has been fined $7000 for professional misconduct in relation to the birth of a child who was delivered stillborn.

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal censured the doctor, who has name suppression, and set conditions for his return to acute obstetric practice.

During a hearing, the tribunal found that the doctor failed to respond appropriately to the child's abnormal and progressively pathological cardiograph between 9:15pm to 9:58pm on an undisclosed date.

During that period, severe foetal compromise was indicated, but the doctor failed to call for an emergency caesarean.

He also failed to communicate adequately with the patient or her husband about a management plan for progress of the birth, including the options available.

The tribunal found that this conduct, both separately and cumulatively, amounted to professional misconduct, being serious negligence and bringing discredit to the medical profession.

The child was delivered stillborn later that night.

The tribunal noted that the doctor had had a lengthy and otherwise successful career and the events occurred during a sustained period of on call work.

It said he had continued to practise in non-acute and surgical areas without any further complaint in the five years since.

In addition to the fine, the doctor was ordered to pay costs of $23,410 to the tribunal and $39,484 to the director of proceedings.