Doctor cautioned after delay to woman's treatment
A MACKAY doctor has been cautioned after a tribunal ruled he behaved in a way that constituted unsatisfactory professional conduct.
The Medical Board of Australia took Indunil Shiranth de Silva to the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to decide whether disciplinary action should be recorded on the register against Dr de Silva.
Dr de Silva, who did not dispute he engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct, was called to help a patient at the Mater Hospital Mackay in January 2009 after she had undergone surgery, conducted by doctor William Fitzgerald.
About four days later, the patient had developed an inflammation in her abdomen.
Dr Fitzgerald believed it was resolving but the patient's husband asked for a second opinion from another doctor, and that doctor was Dr de Silva.
A judgment from QCAT Judge Suzanne Sheridan said Dr de Silva delayed addressing her deteriorating condition and the next day she had developed a life-threatening condition where her abdominal walls had inflamed.
She was transferred to Mackay Base Hospital for emergency surgery.
Judge Sheridan's judgment said expert evidence said Dr de Silva's steps were reasonable and appropriate and that his management of the patient's condition was satisfactory.
But the expert also noted that he did not understand why the patient was not seen by the responsible attending surgeon when she had serious, persistent and dominantly surgical complications.
Dr de Silva admitted that his failure to bring certain matters to Dr Fitzgerald's attention contributed to a delay to the woman's treatment.
But he did not believe his conduct demonstrated he was incompetent or had a lack of knowledge, skill, judgment or care.
Judge Sheridan said the medical board and Dr de Silva agreed that the doctor should receive a caution and undergo an educational course on professional communication.
She also said Dr de Silva had been frank, honest and cooperative throughout the tribunal's proceedings.
The tribunal determined the medical board should not record disciplinary action against Dr de Silva in its register.
The tribunal also cautioned Dr de Silva.
Judge Sheridan also mentioned that the tribunal had previously found that Dr Fitzgerald behaved in a way that constituted unsatisfactory professional conduct. He was reprimanded and conditions were imposed that required him to be mentored for two years. - ARM NEWSDESK