Dr Aamer Sultan - Unsatisfactory professional conduct

7 Apr 2017

The Commission prosecuted a complaint before the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“Tribunal”) against Dr Aamer Sultan, a medical practitioner who was working as a locum at Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, mainly in the Accident and Emergency Department (AED). He was first registered as a medical practitioner in Australia in 2005, having previously practised overseas after his graduation in 1992 until 1999. 

The conduct involved the practitioner visiting a female patient on a ward, whom he had treated on a number of past occasions in the AED.  She had been admitted under the care of the surgical team, of which he was not part. The reason for the visit was social and after the patient had attempted to call on him in the AED earlier in the day. It occurred after the practitioner had completed his shift in the AED, at about 10.30pm.

The Tribunal found that the practitioner:

  • Failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries by visiting the patient late at night when he was not part of the patient’s treating team and without a nurse and chaperone.
  • Physically examined the patient’s breathing, stomach and chest with no clinical basis or need to conduct the examination at that time.
  • Failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries.
  • In conducting the examination inappropriately by sitting very closely behind the patient to examine her with a stethoscope, brushing his hand against her bare breast and becoming sexually aroused.
  • After becoming sexually aroused and having an erection, standing in close proximity to the patient and making a movement with his hand in his genital area.
  • Inappropriately removed a cannula which had been inserted by the surgical team when he was not part of the surgical team and, further, failing to inform the surgical team by making a record in the clinical notes or otherwise.

The practitioner admitted most of the conduct, however he maintained that the chest examination was necessary and he denied deliberately brushing his hand against the patient’s bare breast.  He also denied that his conduct amounted to professional misconduct.

Decision

The Tribunal found that the proven conduct amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct, but as it was not satisfied that there was sexual intention or motivation behind his behaviour and did not consider that the proven conduct amounted to professional misconduct.

The Tribunal will hear submissions at a later date on protective orders to be made in respect of the practitioner’s registration. 


Further Information

The full decision is available at NSW Caselaw

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of a registered health practitioner, including any conditions that currently apply, please check the National Register at www.ahpra.gov.au.