Dr Lei Min Chen – Guilty of professional misconduct

28 May 2018

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted Dr Lei Min Chen, a medical practitioner, before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘Tribunal’). The complaint alleged unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct in relation to Dr Chen’s inappropriate ‘off-label’ prescribing of Ketamine (a rapidly acting general anaesthetic agent that is not approved in Australia for the treatment of depression) and his failure to maintain adequate medical records. The complaint considered Dr Chen’s treatment of 21 patients who presented to the Aura Medical Corporation in Sydney between November 2014 and May 2015.

The conduct was characterised by the following features:

  • A failure to obtain informed consent including information about the material risks of the use of Ketamine even though prescribing Ketamine is experimental and there is a lack of evidence-based treatment protocol;
  • A failure to carry out proper medical assessments prior to prescribing Ketamine;
  • A failure to exercise responsible medical judgment;
  • Prescribing Ketamine without an authority as required by statute;
  • A failure to communicate, liaise and advise treating practitioners; and
  • Inappropriately prescribing Ketamine as a ‘takeaway’ dose.

Decision

In its Stage One decision of 17 May 2018, the Tribunal found all of the particulars proved and that the conduct amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct.

The Tribunal will resume to consider protective orders at Stage Two of the proceedings which is listed for 24 & 25 July 2018.

 

Further Information

The full Stage One 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.