28 February 2012

Hospital in the dark over rape claims

THE medical regulator failed to tell a Victorian hospital its only obstetrician was being investigated over rape allegations.

Regulators banned Stawell Hospital's Arthur Obi from examining patients alone pending a police investigation that ended with his acquittal in December.

The ban took effect last January and remains in place.

A Herald Sun investigation has established that the hospital was not told of the ban until April and that even now, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency has still not told them why it was imposed.

"(The agency) ... does not share sensitive information that could compromise internal procedures," a spokesman said.

The agency last night conceded in a statement to the Herald Sun that it should have alerted the hospital before April and that it had changed its systems to ensure it did not happen again.

Spokeswoman Nicole Newton said doctors also had a legal and ethical responsibility to inform their employers and Dr Obi's conditions had been on the regulator's public database for a year.

Its records show Dr Obi, who also works in a private clinic in Stawell, is not permitted to perform "intimate examinations" without a female chaperon in the room.

He is also required to display a sign telling patients of the chaperon order.

The Herald Sun has confirmed through court records that Dr Obi's conditions relate to allegations he digitally raped a patient in 2008 and 2010.

Dr Obi denies the claims and was found not guilty on six counts of rape and sexual assault in the Ballarat County Court in December.

The court heard Dr Obi was also the subject of complaints of harassment and unprofessional conduct from nurses and doctors.

One doctor allegedly complained that Dr Obi failed to communicate with medics during the resuscitation of an infant in 2010.

One of Dr Obi's lawyers told the court Dr Obi thought he had verbally mentioned the chaperon condition to the hospital and that any failure to comply was unintentional.

He also told the court the regulator had resolved to take no further action over the claims of harassment and unprofessional conduct.

The hospital confirmed to the Herald Sun it terminated his contract in May.

Dr Obi moved to Stawell from London after a global recruitment drive. His sacking has divided the town, with hundreds supporting his reinstatement.

heraldsun.com.au 27 Jan 2012

Another timeless example of how the system fails the citizens, but no the corporates.


Bagsy's Soapbox said...

The story in the Herald Sun on Jan 26th 2012 was a beat up to damage the reputation of a fine and respected doctor. Full details of this ongoing saga can be found on the Stawell and District Healthcare Watch blog : sdhcw.blogspot.com.au

for example the doctor in question informed Dr Norman Castle OAM and Medical Director (Sessional) who in turn informed the hospital's acting CEO at the time (Jan 2011). Dr Obi with his Practice Manager , several days later also spoke directly to the acting CEO.

Carley Crawford (Herald Sun) journalist claimed she had seen the Court transcript in her investigation, Judge Hannan confirmed with me that the transcript was restricted and not made available to the media or the public. The stories in the Herald Sun, the Stawell Times News and Wimmera Mail Times were part of an agenda of the clique that controlled Stawell Regional Health.

Bagsy's Soapbox said...

This article is based on false claims in an article by journalist Carly Crawford of the Herald Sun on 27 January 2012.

The full story of this sorry affair and its aftermath can be found on the Blog of the Stawell and District Healthcare Watch : sdhcw.blogspot.com.au

The articles in the newspapers quoted were part of an agenda of a clique at Stawell Regional Health to discredit Dr Arthur Obi who is very much respected in the Stawell community.

John Launder
SDHCW Secretary