Medical Board of Australia - Tribunal disqualifies and prohibits former medical practitioner from providing any health service for four years

Tribunal disqualifies and prohibits former medical practitioner from providing any health service for four years

19 Aug 2022

A tribunal has reprimanded a former medical practitioner for professional misconduct and ordered he be disqualified and prohibited from providing any health service for four years.

Trigger warning: Some readers may find this article distressing. If you are experiencing distress, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential help. If you are a medical practitioner, you can also visit the drs4drs website.

On 29 July 2022, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found that Dr Shyamal Datta had engaged in professional misconduct and ordered that he be:

  • reprimanded
  • disqualified from applying for registration as a health practitioner for four years, and
  • prohibited from providing any health service for four years.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Datta to the tribunal alleging he had conducted sexualised and/or inappropriate examinations and/or engaged in sexualised and/or inappropriate conduct towards four female patients.

In February 2022 the tribunal had found that Dr Datta’s conduct in relation to two of the patients was proven and that Dr Datta had no case to answer regarding allegations involving two other patients.

The tribunal was satisfied that Dr Datta engaged in conduct that was sexualised and/or inappropriate in relation to the two patients including that he:

  • conducted examinations that were not clinically justified
  • failed to obtain informed consent when conducting examinations, and
  • used inappropriate and sexualised language.

Despite the tribunal’s findings of fact, Dr Datta continued to deny the allegations.

In determining the appropriate disciplinary outcome, the tribunal had regard to, among other things, the:

  • seriousness of the conduct
  • multiple breaches of professional boundaries
  • breach of trust involved
  • complete lack of understanding and appreciation by Dr Datta of his obligations as a medical practitioner
  • continued denial of the conduct
  • conduct demonstrated a complete inability on the part of Dr Datta to self-regulate his behaviour and warranted a serious outcome, and
  • real potential for his conduct to undermine the public’s confidence in the profession.

The tribunal noted that some of Dr Datta’s conduct was ‘thinly disguised’ as part of an otherwise appropriate examination, which it said was arguably even more serious conduct than that which is blatantly and demonstrably inappropriate.

The tribunal had no confidence that Dr Datta had taken, or would in the future, any time to reflect on the actual and/or likely impact of his behaviour on the two patients and no confidence the conduct would not be repeated if he were to return to practice in the foreseeable future.

The tribunal said: ‘All women should feel safe and supported when attending upon their medical practitioner. Dr Datta’s patients could not.'

Dr Datta is now on the public register of cancelled, disqualified and/or prohibited health practitioners.

Read the tribunal’s full decisions (part one and part two) on the AustLII website.

 
 
Page reviewed 19/08/2022