An Australian doctor who posted images of his patients online without their consent has been disqualified from practicing as a doctor until 2023.
The doctor also made xenophobic, sexist and degrading remarks online, with misogynistic comments like “some women deserve to be raped.”
The doctor in question, Dr Christopher Kwan Chen Lee’s registration was suspended in 2019, by the Medial Board of Australia.
Lee had been writing on a forum which was hosted in Singapore thinking he could get away with it as he said that “Aussies don’t care about what goes on in a separate forum in another country.”
The posts were made in 2016 and between 2018 and 2019 and were extremely offensive.
The decision to cancel Lee’s medical registration and disqualify him from reapplying until December 9, 2023 was made on June 27 2022 by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Vcat).
He had been suspended from working by the Tasmanian health practitioners tribunal for six weeks in early 2019 after he admitted to posting the sexist and racist remarks online.
Subsquently upon investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency it was found that Lee did not just make offensive remarks but also shared images of dead bodies, videos of fatal car crashes and sexually explicit photos of his wife.
His blatant disregard of doctor patient confidentiality also led him to post pictures of patients including one of a foot that had been infected by gangrene which he described as “thoroughly septic” in addition to giving details about the patient’s mental health, age and treatments.
The Vcat said that Lee conduct was “outrageous” and “far beyond the standards expected” of the profession.
On his part, Lee admitted to “utterly unacceptable” behaviour amounting to professional misconduct but stated that he disagreed with the Medical Board of Australia’s decision that his registration should be cancelled. This was attributed to the fact that Lee had untreated autism spectrum disorder.
“On the one hand, the behavior is so offensive and so far beyond expected standards – and relying on medical practitioners – it is difficult to see that Dr. Lee can ever successfully return to practice in such a way as to allay community concerns and protect the medical profession’s reputation.
“On the other hand, we have little doubt in our minds that his ASD is now being effectively treated and managed and because of his relatively young age. It would be unfortunate if he could never return to practice,” said Vcat.
The tribunal found that when Lee’s registration needed to be revoked, the total disqualification period should be four and a half years, backdated to June 2019 when he was last allowed to practice.
The Medical Board of Australia’s chair Anne Tonkin applauded the decision.
“Doctors are respected and trusted members of the community,” she said.
“When that trust is eroded by unacceptable and abhorrent conduct, whether in person or online, that can have serious consequences for patient safety.”