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Gynaecologist's action 'unacceptable'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/02/2017
© Saklakova/Getty Images

A gynaecologist who inserted an intrauterine device (IUD) when the patient hadn't given her consent has been told his action was "plainly unacceptable".

In a report, Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill says the right to decide was the woman's and she was deprived of it.

Mr Hill referred the gynaecologist to the Director of Proceedings to decide if there should be further action.

He also recommended that the Medical Council consider whether the gynaecologist's competence should be reviewed.

In 2015, the woman, then 36, had consulted the gynaecologist at a private hospital over management of heavy menstrual bleeding.

She consented to several procedures, including an endometrial ablation under general anaesthetic.

The gynaecologist experienced equipment difficulties while attempting to perform the planned procedure.

He contemplated several alternative procedures for which he had not obtained consent, and had devices for these alternatives brought into the operating theatre.

He then decided that a Mirena IUD device was the safest and most easily reversible treatment option and inserted the device into the woman's uterus.

However, the woman had declined to have a Mirena inserted when it was proposed previously and she had not given consent this time.

When she awoke, she was distressed at what had happened and the device was removed.

Mr Hill said the principle of informed consent was at the heart of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

He said the woman was particularly vulnerable as she was under a general anaesthetic.

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