A medical practitioner has been suspended for failing to maintain professional boundaries

04 Jan 2018

A tribunal has reprimanded a general practitioner, suspended his registration for one month and imposed conditions on his registration requiring him to complete further education on maintaining professional boundaries.

In July 2011, a female patient and her then husband were both patients of Dr Job Ojo. In August 2011 they consulted Dr Ojo together about relationship problems within their marriage. From July 2011 until November 2013, the patient consulted Dr Ojo from time-to-time about her various health issues. That included a referral to a psychologist. During this time, the patient demonstrated a growing emotional attachment to Dr Ojo, including sending him multiple text messages relating to personal matters as well as a number of inappropriate photographs.

Dr Ojo failed to maintain an appropriate doctor/patient relationship by phoning the patient at least 90 times and sending her text messages in which he gave advice about his church, her and her children’s health and provided encouragement and comment about non-medical matters. The doctor/patient relationship was further compromised when the patient obtained employment at the medical centre.

In October 2016, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Job Ojo to the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia (the tribunal). Dr Ojo admitted that his behaviour amounted to professional misconduct and an agreed statement of facts and determinations, between the Board and Dr Ojo, was provided to the tribunal.

On 7 November 2017, the tribunal was satisfied that Dr Ojo failed to maintain professional boundaries and acted contrary to Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia. The tribunal found that Dr Ojo had failed to clearly and repeatedly advise the patient that her text messages were not appropriate to the doctor/patient relationship, refer her to another practitioner, or refuse to consult with her further as a patient. Rather he had encouraged the patient to attend his church and allowed the patient to become dependent on him for emotional support unrelated to medical practice.

The tribunal ordered that Dr Ojo be reprimanded, his registration be suspended for one month and that he complete further education about maintaining professional boundaries. Dr Ojo was also ordered to pay a contribution to the Board’s legal costs, to be assessed if not agreed.

The tribunal decision is published on the tribunal website.

 
 
Page reviewed 4/01/2018