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Doctor entered sexual relationship with patient, prescribed him opioids

Updated: Jul 11, 2023


By Sophie Harris - Stuff New Zealand - 20.03.2023 - [NEW ZEALAND] - [Dr G] An Auckland doctor entered a sexual relationship with a “vulnerable” patient, moving him into her home, all while prescribing him controlled and addictive drugs, including opioids, a tribunal has heard.


The woman, identified only as Dr G, appeared before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal on Monday, facing a charge brought by the Medical Council.


The tribunal heard how Dr G entered a friendship, and then a sexual relationship with a man known as Mr D in 2019. The following year the man moved into her home.


Throughout this time, Mr D continued to be Dr G’s patient. She continued to prescribe him medication, with a high risk of addiction or abuse, including oxycodone and tramadol, the tribunal heard.


Some of the medications prescribed by Dr G, namely triptans and fluticasone, were in excess of the recommended dose for one person. The charge brought about by the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) also alleged Dr G prescribed medication in Mr D’s name, that she intended to use, or did use herself. However, Dr G denies this aspect of the charge. The other aspects of the charge have been accepted by the doctor, the PCC said. They included that she breached an earlier condition imposed on her scope of practise, by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, that she not self-prescribe, or treat her family members, including a partner, for a period of three-years.


The doctor was previously found guilty of professional misconduct, for self-prescribing, prescribing for family members, for her partner, and for obtaining certain medication for herself by prescribing them in the names of family members and her partner.


Dr G also failed to maintain adequate clinical records, and inappropriacy altered Mr D’s records, the tribunal heard. Dr G’s actions had amounted to professional misconduct, the lawyer for the Professional Conduct Committee, Anita Miller, told the tribunal.


The PCC submitted Dr G entered a relationship with a “vulnerable” patient, due to the man's diagnoses of depression, anxiety and PTSD. However, a witness, who worked with Dr G, said it was her who had been taken advantage of.


The witness, whose name was suppressed, said Mr D was a “streetwise, smart, survivor” and worried he had taken advantage of Dr G’s generosity, and inability to say no.


It was an emotionally and financially coercive relationship Dr G was unable to extract herself from, the witness said. She said Dr G was an “excellent” doctor, who had made an error of judgement in her personal life. The hearing is expected to take five days. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.

 
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