Hearing opens to decide formal censure

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 10:27 10/06/2014

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A doctor who failed to follow up on blood-test results on an 86-year-old woman has admitted to professional misconduct before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

The Auckland doctor - "Dr H" - has interim name suppression and his patent, Ms W, permanent name suppression.

A three-day hearing opened this morning in Auckland to decide whether to formally censure the doctor.

In an agreed summary of facts presented by the director of proceedings of the Health and Disability Commissioner it was noted Dr H had ordered glucose tests for the woman to check for diabetes.

The tests showed a risk and called for further testing but Dr H did not follow up.

The woman was eventually admitted to hospital with diabetes.

Dr H accepted he had failed to follow up on the test results, saying he was unavailable due to illness and work commitments.

"Dr H had a clear duty of care to Ms W to ensure that he carefully monitored her condition by responding to irregular tests results and making a timely diagnosis," director of proceedings legal counsel Helena Cook told the hearing.

"Dr H's failure to do so resulted in Ms W living with undiagnosed diabetes for over 18 months."

She said that to the doctor's credit he had accepted his conduct was a departure from the standards expected "and warrants discipline".

She had called for Dr H to be censured, receive further training on diabetes and management of tests results, and pay 30 per cent of the costs of the hearing.

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