Vic: Gynaecologist guilty of misconduct over sexual comments

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A gynaecologist advised a affected person her vagina was ‘nice’ and ‘looked Australian’. But he’ll nonetheless be allowed to practise.

A Melbourne gynaecologist who advised a affected person her vagina was “nice” and appeared “just like an Australian one” won’t have his registration cancelled.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Rudolph Gerad Lopes made the sexualised comments to a affected person throughout an inner examination in 2017, a tribunal heard.

Before performing the examination, Dr Lopes mentioned phrases to the impact: “Ha, I didn’t even have to buy you dinner first”.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal additionally heard Dr Lopes made sexualised comments to a colleague over a number of years, together with: “Do you want a shag?”, “Can I see your vagina? Pretty pretty please?” and “Can I please do your Pap smears? Mates’ rates just for you”.

He additionally despatched the colleague a textual content message together with “xx”, gave her a number of hugs, drew his arm throughout her breast, touched her pores and skin on her again and abdomen, undid her bra strap and appeared down her shirt.

The psychological impression on her was profound, and she or he wore unfastened garments, lengthy pants and excessive tops to keep away from his undesirable consideration, the tribunal heard.

VCAT reprimanded Dr Lopes on Monday and located him guilty of skilled misconduct.

The 50-year-old has been suspended by the Medical Board of Australia since March 2018 after allegations from the ladies had been reported.

Dr Lopes conceded his comments to his affected person had been “completely inappropriate, unbefitting for a doctor-patient consultation and entirely unnecessary”.

“They were silly and it was his attempt at humour to try to keep the patient at ease,” his lawyer submitted.

The comments, made within the presence of a feminine nurse chaperone, led to his job being terminated.

Dr Lopes additionally conceded his behaviour in the direction of his colleague was “inappropriate, unprofessional, crass, vulgar and have no place in any workplace”.

He argued, by way of his legal professionals, his conduct didn’t quantity to skilled misconduct, and if it did, he was now rehabilitated.

VCAT members mentioned the sexual harassment was unacceptable and occurred in a office the place Dr Lopes was in management.

“There is no doubt the remarks were substantially below the standard reasonably expected of such a practitioner,” they mentioned.

“The employee (was) in a particularly vulnerable position, with the doctor having no understanding of the impact his behaviour had on her, and she feeling unable to make her concerns known to him in an effective way.”

However, the tribunal famous Dr Lopes had paid a “heavy price” for the humiliation and publicity related together with his conduct.

They mentioned it was unrealistic for him to anticipate to return to personal follow and he advised the tribunal he didn’t intend to.

The medical board wished Dr Lopes’ registration cancelled to indicate the seriousness of his conduct and protect the career’s popularity.

However, VCAT dominated that cancelling his registration could be “punitive” given the three-and-a-half years he had already been suspended.

They added Dr Lopes could be topic to supervision situations sooner or later.

“We do not see that there is an appreciable risk to the public, or to those with whom Dr Lopes would work in the future, if permitted to resume practice. We say this mindful any return would not be unrestricted,” the members mentioned.

The tribunal will decide the situations that must be positioned on his registration after listening to submissions from each side.

Read associated matters:Melbourne

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