Doctor, patient sex video presented in hearing

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 12:27 12/08/2013

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A doctor's video of him having sex with a patient has been shown to a medical disciplinary tribunal considering a misconduct charge against him, today.

It is alleged the doctor, referred to as "Dr H", paid the patient about $35,000 to withdraw her complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) about affair after the doctor's wife found out about it.

Dr H, accompanied by his wife, is appearing before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal which is holding a hearing in Auckland, expected to last five days.

He is charged with professional misconduct with the particulars including allegations that he entered into a sexual relationship with the patient.

The name and details of the doctor have been suppressed, while the name of the patient is permanently suppressed.

Witnesses will include the patient, her father and mother, a computer forensic analyst who found the video, and a private investigator.

After an opening statement by the independent director of proceedings Aaron Martin, the tribunal began watching parts of the video made by Dr H.

Tribunal chair Bruce Corkill ordered media and Dr H's wife were not to be present during the screening or when the patient gave evidence.

Martin, told the tribunal that in June 2008, Dr H began a sexual relationship with a vulnerable patient, he continued it after he had treated her, and they travelled to Australia together.

He carried out the relationship in "a clandestine manner" with regular sexual relations, wrote her intimate notes "and on one occasion took video footage of the two of them having sex," he said.

Martin said the patient "will find it difficult and stressful to give evidence, not only because of the video footage and the emotional subject matter, but also because she has a history of chronic and debilitating anxiety".

In February, 2009, Dr H's wife found out about the affair going on in Australia, he said. The wife paid $900 for the woman to return home.

"While that payment was inappropriate professional behaviour, it is not as serious as the conduct which followed," Martin said.

The patient saw another medical professional who filed a complaint with HDC.

Martin said Dr H paid the woman $5000 and she emailed HDC to say she was emotionally attached "but that there had not been a sexual relationship".

In May, 2009, he paid the woman another $15,000 and made two more payments totalling about $15,000 in February 2010, Martin said.

The patient went on to complain however so Dr H approached the patient's father "with an intention to disclose 'details that may be detrimental to all of us'."

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Martin said Dr H still accepted no professional misconduct on his part at all.

"Not even that it was misconduct to make payments of over $35,000 to a witness and complainant in order to influence her statements in a legal process," he said.

"That point goes to his credibility, and in the end this case will turn on credibility."

- Stuff

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