Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Former medical practitioner reprimanded, disqualified for 12 months for professional misconduct
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Former medical practitioner reprimanded, disqualified for 12 months for professional misconduct

06 Apr 2023

A retired Victorian medical practitioner has been reprimanded by a tribunal and disqualified from applying for registration for 12 months for professional misconduct.

Trigger warning: Some readers may find this article distressing. If you are experiencing distress, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential help. If you are a medical practitioner, please visit the drs4drs website.

Dr Bruno Giorgio was referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) by the Medical Board of Australia (the Board). The Board alleged Dr Giorgio had engaged in professional misconduct by: 

  • prescribing Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medications, including oxycodone, in the name of family members for self-administration 
  • inappropriately prescribing Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medications, including oxycodone, to family members including without conducting adequate examinations, informing treating doctors or maintaining adequate clinical records
  • inadequately communicating with an intellectually disabled 10-year-old, patient E, and her guardians and failing to gain informed consent before examining the patient
  • inappropriately communicating to patient E’s guardians that she had been sexually abused:
    • without adequate experience/knowledge in paediatric gynaecology or forensic examination
    • in an unqualified way, and/or
    • without suggesting his opinion should be confirmed by a forensic examination, and/or
    • in an inappropriate and unprofessional manner and using unprofessional language and references
  • failing to refer patient E for a forensic examination when abuse was suspected
  • making inappropriate comments to a patient (who had had a miscarriage) after a procedure and making a crude joke at a junior colleague’s expense
  • failing to adequately communicate with a patient and obtain informed consent by not introducing himself or gaining consent before pulling down the patient’s pants while she was in labour. 

The tribunal was satisfied the conduct in each of the allegations had been proven and amounted to professional misconduct. It reprimanded Dr Giorgio in respect of each allegation and disqualified him from applying for registration for a total period of 12 months from 12 January 2023 (six months disqualification for the prescribing conduct and a further six months for the conduct relating to patient E).

Critical of Dr Giorgio’s conduct involving patient E and her guardians, the tribunal described it as ‘somewhat extraordinary’. The tribunal had regard to the victim impact statement provided by patient E’s mother about the effect of Dr Giorgio’s conduct on the family, and said:

‘When the impact of the conduct is taken into account, we consider that Dr Giorgio’s conduct should not be seen as a simple failure to communicate. Rather, it was much more serious and clearly fell substantially below the standard reasonably expected. Further, that Dr Giorgio did not recognise the need for caution given the nature of his suspicions, as well as his evident lack of recent experience in dealing with children, supports a finding that Dr Giorgio was not, at the time, a fit and proper person to hold registration.’

The tribunal noted that Dr Giorgio did not renew his registration in October 2020 and had retired from medical practice with no intention of returning. 

Read the tribunal’s full decision on AustLII.

Page reviewed 6/04/2023