A HUNTER psychiatrist who had a sexual relationship with "an extremely vulnerable" patient whose "mental health was very poor" has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
Anthony Slowiaczek was a psychiatrist at the Maitland Specialist Centre attached to Maitland Private Hospital when he began treating the woman before the pair commenced a relationship, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal said in a judgment.
The relationship turned sexual within a week of Dr Slowiaczek terminating his treatment of the patient, conduct that was "inappropriate'' and "significantly below the relevant standard expected," the tribunal heard.
Over a 10-month period, Dr Slowiaczek failed to maintain proper professional boundaries with the woman in a series of email exchanges where he made "significant personal disclosures" including details about his sexual relationships, his hobbies and his weekend plans, the tribunal found. In one email, Dr Slowiaczek told the woman: "You are also a wise and beautiful woman with a heart as deep as mine and I would love to share my life with you".
In an earlier email conversation, after the woman said she wanted to kiss him, Dr Slowiaczek told her: "I accept your love. I am a bit afraid of it, but actually I think I can handle it ... I just have to keep a clear sight on how to be a worthy therapist for you..."
On another occasion, just prior to the doctor referring the woman to a fellow practitioner, he told her: "I've lost my warm neutrality. I'm hot for you ... you deserve not to pay $260 an hour for love you should get for free ... when you see me on Monday, we'll do six months of meds, talk about treatment, who/where to go, stuff like that. And I will have a small gift for you. And you won't be payin (sic)."
Dr Slowiaczek surrendered his registration as a medical practitioner on September 30, 2018.
The Health Care Complaints Commission took action against him, seeking he be disqualified and prevented from seeking a review of his disqualification for five years. It argued the patient "was an extremely vulnerable person" whose "mental health was very poor".
It said despite Dr Slowiaczek's experience and his awareness of the woman's frailties, he engaged in a sexual relationship with her "when he knew or should have known that such conduct would cause serious further damage to her mental health".
Dr Slowiaczek was prevented from seeking a review of his disqualification before 2023.
The tribunal also found he had failed to maintain records; had inappropriately prescribed drugs to a friend and suffered from a personality dysfunction and depression that detrimentally affect his capacity to practice medicine.
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