Director of Proceedings v Dr W
Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, 653/Med14/281D
(23 September 2014)
The Director of Proceedings laid a charge against Dr W in the Health Practitioner’s Disciplinary Tribunal alleging that Dr W had conducted an examination of his patient’s genitals including touching the patient’s clitoris and performing an internal examination without clinical justification for doing so. The charge further alleged that Dr W had not adequately documented the consultation.
Dr W defended the charge stating that no intimate examination had occurred, but rather that he had been examining the hernia orifices of the patient who had presented with a bowel complaint. The Tribunal heard evidence from Dr W’s patient, the patient’s partner, the manager of the medical centre at which Dr W worked and a colleague of Dr W’s. The Tribunal was required to decide which version of facts it preferred.
The patient alleged that Dr W had required that she remove her trousers and underwear in order to conduct the examination. Dr W had not given her an explanation of the type of examination he was to perform or the reason for it. The Patient also alleged that in the course of the examination Dr W touched her genitals, including her clitoris, and conducted an internal examination. Dr W denied conducting such an examination. The patient claimed that whilst she was not bothered by the need for such an examination, she would have liked to have received an explanation from Dr W as to why such an invasive examination was necessary. Accordingly, having discussed the nature of the examination with her partner she raised her concerns with the medical centre directly. The director of the medical centre gave evidence that she had raised the question of whether Dr W had touched the patient’s genitals with him and he had accepted that he had. The medical centre took no further action as they were satisfied that Dr W was not trying to hide anything, but emphasised the need for a chaperone to be present when Dr W was carrying out such examinations.
The Tribunal accepted that Dr W carried out an extensive examination of the abdomen and groin area and that this had involved a significantly close proximity to the clitoral area. However, the Tribunal found that there was insufficient evidence of a genital or internal vaginal examination or any inappropriate intimate examination by Dr W on the patient. The Tribunal dismissed the charge of professional misconduct.
The Tribunal’s decision can be found at: https://www.hpdt.org.nz/Charge-Details?file=Med14/281D
Last reviewed February 2019