15 Jan 2016
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has found Dr Andrew Carl Schneider, an anaesthetist, engaged in professional misconduct.
The VCAT has reprimanded him and affirmed that conditions imposed by the Medical Board of Australia adequately protected the public.
The Board referred Dr Schneider to VCAT for providing paramedics and police with inaccurate information. This resulted in a man initially receiving care for a stroke, when he had sustained a gunshot wound.
VCAT heard that in June 2012, Dr Schneider had attended a residential address with others where he consumed alcohol, cannabis and cocaine. In the course of the evening, Dr Schneider’s medical assistance was requested at another address because a man had either hit his head or shot himself.
When he arrived, Dr Schneider found the man was conscious but incoherent. Dr Schneider called an ambulance but did not disclose to the operator or the MICA paramedics that the patient had hit his head or shot himself. Instead, he told them that the man had suffered a stroke or similar and that he had fallen and hit his head. The patient was taken to hospital where a scan was done that found a metal fragment in his head, indicating that he had sustained a gunshot wound. The police were then notified.
Dr Schneider acknowledged that by failing to provide paramedics with accurate information about the man’s condition, he did not act in the best interests of the patient.
Dr Schneider also accepted that had police been notified earlier, it would have assisted them in their investigation and his failure to disclose had the potential to compromise the investigation. Dr Schneider initially signed a statement that contained false information.
Dr Schneider acknowledged that he actively misled police in their investigation. Some time later, Dr Schnerider provided a second statement to police that provided a true account of his involvement.
Dr Schneider acknowledged that, in his conduct in relation to the information, that he failed to provide to paramedics and in his false statement to police, he failed to:
- make care for the patient his first concern
- act ethically or in a trustworthy manner, and
- display integrity or truthfulness.
Before finalising its decision, VCAT considered the conditions that the Medical Board had imposed on Dr Schneider’s registration as a result of another matter. Conditions are published on the register of practitioners.
VCAT said ‘A focus on the rehabilitation of a practitioner may in some instances be the most powerful tool in ensuring protection of the public and the maintenance of professional standards. We consider such to be the case in this instance’.
VCAT found Dr Schneider engaged in professional misconduct and reprimanded him.
The reasons for the decision are on the AustLII website.