Letter to Health and Disability Commissioner – Doctor Suspended – Unlawful Prescriptions

I would be grateful if you were able to assist me with information on an important matter. On  30th April in the Christchurch Press there was an article reporting on a recent decision of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. A Doctor had been found guilty of unlawfully prescribing the abortion drug Misoprostol to three of her patients. The doctor had been censured and suspended from practising for a period of six months. The name of the doctor was temporarily suppressed. I have been advised that the doctor is seeking permanent name suppression and is appealing against the release of her name in the High Court.

The doctor who unlawfully prescribed this dangerous drug has broken the law. The Crimes Act 1961, under section ‘eight’, Crimes Against the Person, has section 183, Procuring Abortion by any means. It reads, “Everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who, with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman or girl, whether she is pregnant or not,-[a] Unlawfully administers to or causes to be taken by her any poison or any drug … “

These are serious crimes against the right to life of three defenceless unborn children.

Right to Life believes that these matters should be brought to the attention of the Police in order that they may be investigated with a view to having charges laid in the High Court. Our Society has been advised by the office of the Tribunal that this is not the responsibility of the Tribunal.

I would be grateful if you would advise me if it is the responsibility of your office to report these matters to the Police and if so, if it is your intention to take this action?

It is expected that the High Court will adjudicate expeditiously on the doctor’s appeal for permanent name suppression. In the likely event that the appeal does not succeed. I would be grateful if you were permitted to provide our Society with the name of the doctor in question.

In the event that the doctor was a certifying consultant appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee to authorise abortions. would your office be bringing the Tribunal’s decision to the attention of the Committee?

Yours sincerely

Ken Orr

Secretary   

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