DOCTOR WHO SAT ON PATIENT CLEARED

The plight of a doctor brought before the Medical Board of Australia for sitting on top of a boy during a consultation is being used to educate health practitioners.

Last week AHPRA announced that it would start publishing selected summaries of medical board panel hearings into alleged misconduct.

Only summaries of “educational and clinical value” are being made accessible online and the names of health practitioners involved will be removed.

So far, 16 summaries have appeared on the AHPRA site covering issues such as inappropriate care and “boundary violations”.

They include the case of a doctor who saw a boy “about a problem of oppositional behaviour”.

In March last year, the panel heard that the doctor reacted when the patient, who was accompanied by his mother, “raised his leg towards the doctor”. Believing the boy was attempting to kick him and hit him with a fist, the doctor pulled the child down to the floor and sat on him.

The boy’s father then made a formal complaint. The next day the child complained of “discomfort while breathing” and was diagnosed with “bruised ribs” by a GP.

But the medical board panel concluded the doctor involved had no case to answer, saying the boy’s injury was not major and the little force used was “reasonably necessary”.

“His actions were reasonable in the context of his concern for his physical wellbeing and it was reasonable for the practitioner to contain the situation and then ask the parent of the patient for consent,” the board concluded.

“When the parent did not consent to the action taken, the practitioner released the child.”

MY COMMENT 10/04/2013 Medical Observer

drjgelb to Dr John Drinkwater • 4 minutes ago −

When I did my 6 month training rotation to the now defunct Larundel Hospital in Bundoora, Victoria in 1985, it was brought to my attention by a male psychiatric RN that no formal acute threat management training was provided on campus & that patient on staff assaults were common. The nurse was a martial artist who had been involved in staff training in threat containment overseas & after generously teaching me the basic principles & a few easily applied techniques that involved almost zero risk to patients or staff, I asked if he would conduct a couple of sessions to teach my fellow registrars & the acute admissions nursing staff. Everyone who could squeeze into the conference room did so & came away from the sessions far more confident in handling dangerous or assaultive patients. Seeing the various scenarios demonstrated “live” & practising under the instructor’s gaze, was considered by all of us to be critical to the learning of these techniques. Inclusion of instruction in specialised handling of these situations could be a valuable addition to the Medical School curriculum. What do readers think?

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