Dr Philip Stephens – Unsatisfactory professional conduct

28 Nov 2017

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint against an anaesthetist, Dr Philip Stephens, before a Medical Professional Standards Committee (‘the Committee’) in relation to his treatment of an elderly woman during surgery.

The patient attended hospital for a routine gastroscopy and colonoscopy, for which Dr Stephens was the anaesthetist. The patient had undergone a knee replacement some years earlier and mentioned that to staff before the procedure. The complaint alleged that Dr Stephens applied inappropriate force to the patient’s knee during the procedure. Following the procedure, the patient had severe knee pain, swelling and bruising and was diagnosed with severe soft tissue injury.

Dr Stephens claimed he could not recall the procedure but made some admissions.


On 24 November 2017, the Professional Standards Committee published its decision. The Committee found that Dr Stephens had applied inappropriate force to the patient’s knee when bending it to position her for the colonoscopy in circumstances where he was aware, or should have been aware, of the patient’s concerns regarding the limitation of movement in her knee and an adequate positioning of a patient for a colonoscopy can be obtained with a straight knee.

The Committee found Dr Stephens guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and imposed a formal reprimand.

Further Information

A copy of the Professional Standards Committee’s decision can be found here

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.