Panel hearing summary 2013.0178

Decision of the Medical Board of Australia

Performance and Professional Standards Panel

Jurisdiction: Australian Capital Territory

Date of Hearing: 16 October 2013

Date of Decision: 16 October 2013

Classification of Notification:

  • Clinical care - Inadequate or inappropriate treatment
  • Health record – Inadequate or inaccurate or misleading

Allegations

It was alleged that the practitioner had behaved in a way that constituted unsatisfactory professional performance under section 191(1)(b)(i) of the National Law in that:

  1. their actions, including not referring the patient to emergency hospital admission for suspected pulmonary embolism when they knew or ought to have known that there was potentially a risk to the patient's life, were not appropriate in the treatment of DVT or pulmonary embolus
  2. the practitioner started treatment with Aspirin when they knew or ought to have known that the use of Aspirin in treating pulmonary embolism was not a recognised or appropriate treatment for DVT or pulmonary embolus or for DVT prophylaxis
  3. the practitioner continued to advocate the use of Aspirin to treat pulmonary embolus and DVT on several occasions after the incident and
  4. the practitioner's record of the consultation was inadequate.

Finding

The panel found that there was no evidence to support the third allegation. However, it found that the first, second and fourth allegations were proved and that the practitioner had engaged in unsatisfactory professional performance by this conduct.

The panel found that while the practitioner recognised the possibility of pulmonary embolus, their management of the risk fell short of reasonable standards. The practitioner made only a brief record of the consultation, which was not helpful and did not record the patient’s temperature, heart or respiratory rate, blood pressure, or presence or absence of cyanosis. The practitioner conceded that they were not aware that Aspirin was no longer an appropriate treatment for DVT and took responsibility for not treating the suspected condition as a medical emergency.

The practitioner had since updated their knowledge and changed the way they manage thromboembolic events.

Determination

The panel cautioned the practitioner.

 
 
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