Dr Andrew Istephan – Registration Cancelled for Professional Misconduct

02 Aug 2017

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted Dr Andrew Istephan, a dentist before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’), alleging that Dr Istephan failed to provide appropriate treatment of 69 elderly patients, residing in five aged care facilities, in circumstances where:

  • the treatment provided was largely invasive,  irreversible and not clinically indicated;
  • 52 of the 69 patients were incapable of providing informed consent and no consent was obtained from those 52 patients ; and
  • the provision of treatment was inappropriately influenced by the benefits available under two Commonwealth Government dental schemes.

In addition to the allegation that the conduct amounted to professional misconduct, the Commission argued that it justified an additional finding that Dr Istephan was not a suitable person to practise the profession of dentistry.  The complaint also alleged that Dr Istephan had been convicted of criminal offences in NSW, namely actual bodily harm and aggravated assault in respect of eight of the patients.

Dr Istephan made full admissions to the complaint, but did not agree that he was not a suitable person to practise as a dentist. He conceded that “a major motivation of his conduct was greed”.

Decision

The Tribunal published its decision on 1 August 2017, finding each of the complaints and particulars therein proven. The Tribunal found that the: “The practitioner’s conduct was of the most serious kind. The conduct requires strong denunciation. It is hard to imagine a more vulnerable group of patients.” Dr Istephan was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct, professional misconduct, criminal convictions and that he is not a suitable person to practise the profession of dentistry.  The Tribunal also found that the practitioner was not a witness of truth and is still unable to take full responsibility for his conduct, falling short of “demonstrating the qualities of integrity and honesty he alleges he now possesses.”

The Tribunal ordered that Dr Istephan’s registration be cancelled and imposed a non-review period of 2 years.


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.