DLA Piper highlights a recent decision of the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia, in the matter of Medical Board of Australia v Dekker [2013] WASAT 182.

The Tribunal’s task arose following an incident involving the defendant in the course of driving a motor vehicle. She failed to stop and render assistance after a ‘near miss’ incident involving her motor vehicle and a second motor vehicle. The second vehicle crashed and rolled. The practitioner did not see the second vehicle crash, but heard noise of impact. The practitioner drove a short distance to a police station where she reported the incident and alerted the police to the possibility that another vehicle had driven off the road. 

The published summary includes this key passage:

The Tribunal determined that it is improper conduct in a professional respect for a medical practitioner who is aware that a motor vehicle accident has or may have occurred in their vicinity and that anyone involved has or may have suffered injury not to make an assessment of the situation, including the nature of any injuries and needs of persons involved, and render assistance, by way of first aid, when the practitioner is physically able to do so, notwithstanding that the practitioner immediately reports the matter to police or other emergency services. Because saving human life and healing sick and injured people is a core purpose and ethic of the medical profession, and because members of the profession have the knowledge and skills to do so, the failure by a medical practitioner to make an assessment and render assistance when he or she is aware that a motor vehicle accident has or may have occurred in their vicinity and that people have or may have been injured, when the practitioner is physically able to do so, would, even where the practitioner immediately reports the matter to police or other emergency services, reasonably be regarded as improper by medical practitioners of good repute and competency, and there is a sufficiently close link or nexus with the profession of medicine.