HUNTER doctor Anil Mathad was a convicted stalker accused of groping two patients’ breasts by January, 2016 when the NSW Medical Council allowed him to continue working, despite the complaints, because there was “no risk to the public”.
It placed no conditions over his registration despite one of the women patients, with a suspected pneumonia diagnosis, complaining she ran “very distressed” from Mathad’s room to another doctor after Mathad pulled up her bra and “started playing with her nipple piercing”.
Mathad was working at a Tea Gardens medical centre by the time the Medical Council considered the first two complaints against him in 2016.
It was nearly six years after his conviction for stalking a woman in 2010 and assaulting her “to shut her up”, and more than a year after he was sacked from a Rutherford medical centre in November, 2014 following complaints from four female patients and two staff, including a 16-year-old work trainee.
Mathad was sacked from Rutherford Family Medical Practice after sending the teenage trainee a text message saying he had taken a Viagra sample and “all night I had a hard-on and in the morning a f headache. lol.”
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal cancelled Mathad’s registration for at least two years on Thursday after finding him guilty of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct, and noting his criminal offences.
He was “not a suitable person to hold registration” the tribunal found. His conduct with the teenager was “deplorable” and he “exhibited a gross abuse of power in his dealings with her”, the tribunal said.
Mathad “relentlessly pressured” the teenager with frequent text messages “endeavouring to persuade her to engage in photographic sessions when it was very clear she did not want to do so”, it found.
“This was deplorable conduct by a 38-year-old professional who either completely lacked insight or integrity or pursued (the teenager) knowingly with sexual intent.”
Mathad denied he did anything wrong but admitted sending the text messages.
This was deplorable conduct by a 38-year-old professional who either completely lacked insight or integrity or pursued (the teenager) knowingly with sexual intent.- NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
The tribunal said women patients were “entitled to place significant trust in a doctor who is carrying out an intimate examination” and maintaining that level of trust in the profession was “a matter of public importance”.
But the tribunal rejected the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission submission that Mathad should be deregistered for five years, and cancelled his registration for two years.
Mathad trained in India and was registered as a doctor in Australia in 2008. He worked for Hunter New England Local Health District from January, 2008 until June, 2013. He worked at the Rutherford medical centre from June, 2013 until November, 2014 when he was sacked.
He worked at Ochre Health Medical Centre at Tea Gardens from March, 2015 until April 11 this year when the tribunal suspended his registration, pending a final decision on deregistration, after finding him guilty of professional misconduct in February.
The tribunal found Mathad inappropriately touched a 19-year-old patient’s breasts at the Rutherford medical centre in 2013, after saying “They look quite nice. Can I have a feel?”
It found he inappropriately touched another woman patient’s breasts in 2013 after calling them “boobies”. The woman was a “vulnerable patient with a complex medical and social history”, the tribunal said.
It found Mathad played with another woman’s nipple piercing and sent a nurse photos of topless women on a sports car and pursued conversations with sexual inferences despite her complaints that they represented “harassing behaviour”.
The tribunal noted a formal complaint about Mathad was prepared by the Rutherford Family Medical Practice on behalf of one of the patients in June, 2015.
On January 8, 2016 the NSW Medical Council decided not to suspend Mathad or place conditions over his practice based on the evidence before them at that date. The council required Mathad to have a chaperone while he worked from May 20, 2016 after considering complaints from two more patients at the Rutherford medical centre.
The HCC told the tribunal it was “entirely unknown” when Mathad would be able to demonstrate insight into his behaviour after his lawyer accepted his denials “could be regarded as some indication of a lack of insight”.
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