Dr Carolyn Giselle Cooke – reprimanded and conditions imposed by Medical Tribunal
05 Jul 2012
The Health Care Complaints Commission recently prosecuted a complaint against
Dr Carolyn Giselle Cooke, a ‘wholistic’ medical practitioner before the Medical
Tribunal of NSW. The prosecution related to Dr Cooke’s treatment of two patients
and her unethical conduct in relation to altering clinical notes.
The Commission argued that Dr Cooke was guilty of professional misconduct in
that she had:
- failed to refer a female patient (Patient A) for mammography and fine needle
biopsy to investigate a lesion in her breast that was discovered by ultrasound
- failed to follow the recommendations of a radiologist, and instead referred
Patient A for thermography and recommended dietary changes
- engaged in unethical conduct in deliberately altering Patient A’s clinical
notes after receiving notice of a medical negligence claim
- failed to perform physical examinations on a second female patient (Patient
B) despite hardness in the patient’s abdomen and complaints of weight gain and
Patient A was later referred for appropriate testing by a different general
practitioner and the lesion was found to be malignant. Patient B underwent a
hysterectomy the following year to remove a large fibroid which encompassed most
of her uterus.
The Commission also argued that Dr Cooke was not a suitable person to hold
registration in the practice of medicine in that she had deliberately altered
her clinical notes after receiving a medical negligence claim, and swore a false
Statement in Answer to Interrogatories in those civil proceedings.
At the time of the Tribunal hearing Dr Cooke had been suspended for 2½ years
by order of the Medical Council.
Dr Cooke admitted unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional
misconduct in relation to her treatment of Patient A and her unethical
In its decision of 29 June 2011, the Tribunal found Dr Cooke guilty of
professional misconduct in relation to her treatment of Patient A and
unsatisfactory professional conduct in relation to her treatment of Patient
The Tribunal ordered that Dr Cooke be reprimanded and placed a number of
conditions on her practice, including the she:
- only practice in a public hospital approved by the Medical Council and under
direct or immediate supervision for 12 months
- undertake re-training as a general practitioner, involving three years of
supervised full time training to achieve fellowship of the Royal Australian
College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
- only work in a group practice with at least three other medical
practitioners once she has attained RACGP fellowship
- attend for counselling with an approved psychiatrist.
The full decision is available at Medical
Council of NSW.
Current conditions on Dr Cooke’s registration can be accessed at the website
of the Australian Health Practitioner
For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to email@example.com.