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  • Doctor’s visit to female patient ‘breached standards’

    2018 - 07.03

    A former Wollongong doctor has been reprimanded after visiting a female patient at home, taking a walk with her and calling her more than 20 times after she attended Wollongong Hospital emergency department suffering a possible psychotic episode.

    The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted Dr Farukh Tehseen before a Medical Professional Standards Committee for his failure to maintain proper professional boundaries with the patient over a 10-day period in April 2012.

    Last month, the committee found Dr Tehseen guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct, and ordered him to complete 12 months of mentoring as well as a medical ethics course offered by Monash University.

    Dr Tehseen, who gained his qualifications in Pakistan, was a career medical officer at Wollongong Hospital when the patient was admitted to the ED on April 3, 2012, after she became disoriented and started hallucinating.

    The patient said the doctor visited her at her home the following day, before he drove her to McDonald’s for coffee after which they went for a walk together.

    Dr Tehseen denies that he visited the patient’s home, claiming he met her at the fast food outlet to give her some “relaxation material” at her request.

    However, in its findings the medical committee accepted the patient’s version of events, which were supported by her mother’s statement, the records of the district’s mental health team and a report from her own GP.

    The committee noted that call charge records also revealed that calls were made from Dr Tehseen’s mobile phone to the patient 21 times between April 3 and 13, 2012.

    Dr Tehseen worked at various hospitals in Pakistan before he was registered to work in Australia in September 2011 and started work as a career medical officer at Wollongong Hospital the following month.

    The committee noted: “We consider that this was a significant breach of the expected standards even taking into account [Dr Tehseen’s] limited experience of working in an Australian hospital”.

    Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Director of Clinical Governance Robert Farrugia said since the incident the district had “reviewed its system for appointments to positions in psychiatry”.

    “The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District investigated the allegations and the clinician resigned his post shortly after the incident in 2012,” he said.

    Dr Tehseen has worked as a GP in South Australia since mid 2013.

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