22 Jul 2021
A South Australian general practitioner has been permanently prohibited from providing any health service after performing an internal examination of a female patient without adequate explanation of the purpose of the examination and without adequate informed consent.
The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found Dr Christopher Moschou engaged in professional misconduct by engaging in conduct that was substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered medical practitioner of his level of training or experience.
A notification was first made to the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) in May 2019, of conduct that occurred in May 1988.
On 31 May 1988, a female patient known as AB, attended an appointment with Dr Moschou at his practice with a complaint of feeling unwell and to obtain a medical certificate for her university studies.
Patient AB experienced considerable pain and distress as a result of the examination.
On 2 June 2021, the tribunal found Dr Moschou’s behaviour constituted professional misconduct. He was reprimanded, his registration as a medical practitioner cancelled and he was permanently prohibited from providing any health service under the National Law.1
Dr Moschou accepted that he had engaged in professional misconduct and apologised for patient AB’s distress arising from his conduct.
The tribunal found Dr Moschou’s conduct was ‘extremely serious’. The patient was 21 years old at the time and the internal vaginal examination that Dr Moschou performed was painful and unexpected. The tribunal considered ‘it is not at all surprising that it shocked the patient and caused her to perceive what had occurred as a sexual assault’.
‘Dr Moschou infringed fundamental rights of the patient. He invaded the patient’s body, privacy and dignity without informed consent. He embarked on an intimate examination without adequately warning or explanation. He treated the patient in a way that lacked sensitivity, consideration and respect.’
Dr Moschou was further ordered to pay the Board’s costs as agreed or fixed by the tribunal.
The tribunal’s decision is published on the Austlii website.
1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).