26 Sep 2023
A South Australian doctor has been reprimanded and had conditions placed on her registration after she failed to obtain informed consent from at least 180 patients, failed to provide them with adequate medical care, failed to keep proper medical records and failed to maintain the integrity of the medical records.
In March 2022, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Li-Sien Rebekah Neoh to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal).
For around five years, between 2014 and 2019, Dr Neoh recommended that at least 180 of her patients who came to her experiencing dizziness, see her father for treatment. He assessed them and then showed them how to perform the Epley manoeuvre, a non-invasive method to relieve the symptom.
Dr Neoh did not tell these patients that her father was not a registered health practitioner and never had been. She also did not tell them that he did not have any formal qualifications or formal training in the Epley manoeuvre. Dr Neoh also failed to assess each patient on an individual basis and appropriately consider their individual presentation.
During this time, Dr Neoh gave her father her log-in details to the clinic’s medical records, so he could make entries in her name in the records of the patients he had seen.
The Board submitted that all of these actions represented serious and sustained departures from the standards of competence expected of a registered medical practitioner of Dr Neoh’s level of training and experience.
The tribunal noted that Dr Neoh recognised and acknowledged that her behaviour reduced her patients’ capacity for informed consent to health treatment and could have exposed them to risk. She also admitted that failing to consistently identify or record in sufficient detail, and allowing her father to use her log-in and make entries directly in the clinical records in her name, was inconsistent with the Board’s Code of conduct.
The tribunal noted that while the public needed to be protected from any further professional misconduct by Dr Neoh, she had reflected on her conduct and made personal and professional changes which reduced future risks.
The tribunal found that Dr Neoh had engaged in professional misconduct by failing to provide adequate medical care to at least 180 patients; failing to obtain informed consent in relation to those same patients; failing to maintain adequate records; and failing to maintain the integrity of medical records.
It ordered she be reprimanded; have conditions imposed on her registration with a 12-month review period, and pay the Board’s costs.
Read the tribunal’s full decision on AustLII.