Suspension of registration of medical practitioner: Unresolved criminal charges

Crickitt v Medical Council of NSW (No 2) [2015] NSWCATOD 115 considered and dismissed an appeal from a decision by the Medical Council of New South Wales, to suspend the registration of a medical practitioner.

The suspension order had been made following the doctor being charged with the murder of his then wife by injection of insulin, that charge not yet having been determined by a court.

In dismissing the appeal (though reducing the duration of the suspension for a period of 6 months in which the Medical Council may determine whether it wishes to pursue any formal complaints against the doctor) the Tribunal considered a number of factors, including:

  • The presumption of innocence.
  • That the doctor had prescribed for his then wife an antipsychotic drug Zyprexa which may be indicative of medical treatment afforded to a family member contrary to best practice.
  • That the doctor had lied to the police concerning his movements on the evening  during which his then wife died, which he admitted.
  • The apparent creation and forgery of a prescription for insulin.

At [77] the Tribunal concluded:

………In the context of these proceedings, all patients of the appellant are vulnerable to the misconduct exhibited by the appellant in the treatment of his wife. He exhibited incompetency in diagnosis and in treatment of a complex mental health condition over a long period of time, and a failure to record and keep proper clinical notes. As such we have grave concerns for his safe and appropriate practice of medicine, and the impact on the safety of his patients or persons who may become his patients. Furthermore, this misconduct is exacerbated by the circumstances involving the manipulation of patient records and the circumstances in which a false script was issued and the computer records were compromised. To a less severe extent, we add the misconduct associated with the admitted lies given to the police. All of this misconduct is such that, in the aggregate, in the public interest his registration should be suspended.

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