Performance and Professional Standards Panel
Jurisdiction: Western Australia
Date of Hearing: 15 November 2013
Date of Decision: 15 November 2013
Informed Consent – Lack of consent
It was alleged that the plastic surgeon behaved in a way that constituted unsatisfactory professional performance under section 191(1)(b)(i) of the National Law, in that they failed to obtain informed consent for a change of breast implant size.
The Panel found the allegation proven and that the practitioner had behaved in a way that constituted unsatisfactory professional performance in that the patient had not given their informed consent.
The panel found that immediately before the procedure, the practitioner asked the patient, who was under sedation from her pre-operative medication, to select a different implant size as the size she had chosen was not available. This request, which was made in the operating theatre, was not appropriate, particularly given the patient’s judgment and capacity to consent were compromised at the time and because she had a history of changing her mind about size (having done so twice previously).
The panel noted that the practitioner has changed their practice since this incident and improved their record keeping processes about informed consent. The panel also heard that the practitioner would now respond differently in a similar situation and would cancel the operation.
The panel decided to caution the practitioner.