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Inappropriate treatment by massage therapist (08HDC07644)
Download Inappropriate treatment by massage therapist (08HDC07644) (PDF 137Kb)
(08HDC07644, 21 November
Neuromuscular therapist ~ Inappropriate massage ~
Professional standards ~ Rights 4(2), 6(2), 7(1)
A woman complained that a neuromuscular therapist massaged her
breast and chest area while treating her for neck and shoulder
pain. The woman saw the massage therapist on three separate
occasions within 48 hours, for the same problem. The first
treatment appeared to be appropriate for the patient's
presentation; however, during the second and third sessions the
massage therapist exposed the patient's breasts and massaged around
It was held that the therapist breached Right 6(1) by failing to
adequately explain to the woman what he was proposing to do, or why
he considered that the area should be worked on. He also breached
Right 7(1), as he provided a service without informed consent.
By failing to keep adequate documentation of his assessment and
treatment, the therapist failed to comply with his professional
obligation to adequately record the services he provides to
consumers and, accordingly, he breached Right 4(2).
The therapist was referred to the Director of Proceedings, who
filed a claim in the Human Rights Review Tribunal seeking relief,
including a declaration and damages, on behalf of the consumer for
the massage therapist's breaches.
Having regard to agreed facts and to the fact that other aspects
of the relief initially claimed by the Director had been resolved
between the parties, the Tribunal issued a declaration pursuant to
s 54(1)(a) of the Act that the actions of the massage therapist
were in breach of rights 4(2), 6(2) and 7(1) of the Code.
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