Mohammed Hadi was working as a general practitioner when he engaged in a sexual relationship with one of his patients outside of the clinic. The patient made a complaint to the police about Dr Hadi's behaviour, which was ultimately withdrawn.

A mandatory report was made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Medical Board of Australia commenced disciplinary proceedings against Dr Hadi before the South Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal for professional misconduct.

Background Facts

Dr Hadi was born in Iraq and obtained his medical qualifications from the College of Medicine at Baghdad University in the year 2000. In February 2013 he obtained Limited Registration with the Medical Board of Australia. In April 2013 he commenced full-time employment as a general medical practitioner at a local clinic. AB was a patient at the clinic. Between December 2013 and February 2015 AB attended 22 consultations at the clinic. Between August 2013 and April 2014 Dr Hadi and AB occasionally met at the gym. They did not meet between April 2014 and December 2014. Dr Hadi did not provide medical treatment to AB after 3 December 2014. During December 2014 Dr Hadi attended AB's home at her invitation on a number of occasions in relation to a mutual interest in fitness. They exchanged text messages, and they ultimately commenced a sexual relationship, which continued until January or February 2015.

In February 2015 Dr Hadi was arrested by police and charged with two offences of rape and assault after AB made a complaint to the police. Following notification of the charges, Dr Hadi's credentials and clinical privileges to practice were withdrawn at the local hospital. Shortly after his employment at the clinic was terminated. Dr Hadi's registration with the Medical Board of Australia expired in February 2015. When he applied for renewal of his registration, his application was refused. AHPRA was notified of the conduct and decided to investigate.

The DPP proceeded with one of the two charges in the District Court of South Australia, however the prosecution was withdrawn after Dr Hadi gave evidence. In April 2017 Dr Hadi's registration was approved by the NSW Board of the Medical Board of Australia, however at the time of the decision he had not commenced practice despite being registered to practice.

Findings

The Tribunal found that Dr Hadi's conduct was professional misconduct under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) Act 2010. The failure to observe professional boundaries between a medical practitioner and patient amounted to an abuse of Dr Hadi's position of control, influence or authority. The Tribunal took into account the fact that Dr Hadi admitted his conduct at the earliest opportunity, the timing of the relationship, and that the patient was not a vulnerable person. The Tribunal considered that it would ordinarily be appropriate to suspend Dr Hadi's registration for a period of six months but the Tribunal in the circumstances declined to do so. Dr Hadi was reprimanded, and education and mentoring conditions were imposed on his registration.