23 Sep 2016
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) has found Dr Tahir Shah engaged in professional misconduct and suspended his registration for six months.
The Medical Board of Australia (Board) commenced disciplinary proceedings against Dr Tahir Shah in the tribunal on 6 August 2015 for his involvement in his former wife’s medical treatment, accessing her medical records without authorisation, and for knowingly making false and misleading statements to AHPRA.
The Board alleged that Dr Shah had communicated with the oncologist treating his former wife on 25 September 2012 without her authority, and that he had also accessed her private medical records without her permission the following day.
Dr Shah admitted that he had inappropriately communicated with his former wife’s oncologist but argued that he had verbal authority from his former wife to access her medical records. This claim was refuted by his former wife.
In assessing the claims against Dr Shah, the tribunal found that he and his former wife probably separated, physically and emotionally around 12 August 2012. It stated that ‘whatever Dr Shah thought (or wants the tribunal to believe he did) it is clear that from [his former wife’s] point of view that he was not someone who could ethically be involved in her treatment after mid-August 2012 or entitled to monitor or be informed of her progress.’
The tribunal asserted that by continuing to involve himself in his former wife’s treatment against her express wishes, Dr Shah abused his position of trust and confidence as a doctor and fell short of professional standards reasonably expected of him by the public.
The tribunal also found that information that Dr Shah provided to AHPRA in various submissions regarding his relationship with his former wife around September 2012 and her alleged requests for him to be involved in her medical treatment were false and calculated to mislead.
The tribunal determined that Dr Shah’s behaviour constituted professional misconduct and suspended his registration for six months. In doing so, it affirmed that any sanction less than that would erode public confidence in the disciplinary process and medical profession.
Dr Shah was also required to complete a course in ethical decision making and patient confidentiality, to be completed within six months of the tribunal’s decision. He was also ordered to pay the Board’s costs.
The tribunal’s decision is published on Austlii.