Dr Nigel Murray – Unsatisfactory professional conduct

8 February 2019

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint before a Medical Professional Standards Committee (‘the Committee’) against Dr Nigel Murray, a general practitioner and visiting medical officer at Corowa Hospital, in relation to his care of an elderly woman who had recently started chemotherapy.

The complaint alleged that Dr Murray had been telephoned overnight by a nurse to report that the patient had abdominal pain, for which Dr Murray prescribed Morphine. Later another nurse telephoned Dr Murray to advise of deterioration, and he increased Morphine.  Dr Murray remained in the hospital on-call room overnight then assessed the patient in the morning and further increased Morphine. The patient later became unresponsive and was transferred to a larger hospital where she died that afternoon. The complaint alleged that Dr Murray:

• failed to provide adequate care and treatment by not attending the patient after the first phone call, and again after the second phone call;
• prescribed an excessive quantity of Morphine;
• failed to urgently transfer the patient to the larger hospital; and
• failed to properly record the patient’s condition.

On 4 February 2019, the Professional Standards Committee found the complaint proven and Dr Murray guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.  In its protective orders, the Committee:
• imposed a formal reprimand;
• ordered Dr Murray to complete educational courses to improve his clinical decision making and record keeping;
• ordered Dr Murray to provide the Medical Council with proof of good patient records;
• recommended that Dr Murray complete further education on communication skills; and
• reminded Dr Murray of his professional responsibility to take steps to minimise the risks of fatigue.

The PSC decision can be found here.

Further Information

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.