An accused Doctor who had sex with five vulnerable patients and thought his actions were allowed has lost a bid to return to medical practice by finally losing his appeal to regain his license.
John Drury had sex with five divorced or single Bendigo women whom he was treating for stress, depression and anxiety more than 10 years ago. Thereafter in 2001 he lied under oath about his conduct, denying most of the improper relationships and claiming the women were framing him to get compensation. Three previous applications to get his registration back - in 2004, 2006 and 2010 - were refused after the Medical Board of Australia found that he was still not a "fit and proper person" to be a doctor. Recently he asked the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) again to reinstate his license, he described his own past behavior as predatory and claimed he was ashamed and reformed.
Tribunal deputy president Catherine Aird yesterday affirmed a decision by the Medical Board of Australia to refuse Mr. Drury registration. Ms Aird said that while a new federal law said a person had to be “fit and proper” to be a doctor, it did not define what these terms meant. But she said that as moral integrity and honesty were essential components in any doctor-patient relationship, Mr. Drury was not a fit and proper person to be a doctor.
VCAT heard Mr Dury has worked as a non-emergency ambulance driver and salesman since he was banned from being a doctor, and he briefly worked for the Kinglake recovery project following Black Saturday. During the VCAT hearing, it was revealed that Mr Drury had attempted to write apology letters to his former patients, but the Medical Board refused to forward them to the affected women.
“There is a special relationship between a medical practitioner and a patient which is based on honesty, integrity and trust,” Ms Aird said. “Mr. Drury's conduct in forming inappropriate relationships with each of his five former patients was a severe betrayal of that trust. Furthermore, Mr. Drury's persistent and continuing denial of the sexual relationships with his patients, including his lying under oath, causes us serious doubts and reservations about his honesty.”
Two psychiatrists had told the tribunal that Mr Drury was now aware of his misconduct and had a low risk of reoffending while he remained married. Mr Drury also tendered glowing referee letters from previous work colleagues, but as VCAT deputy president Ms Aird pointed out, there were no references from “any current or former employers”. But the tribunal said that “with the greatest respect to Mrs. Drury … this is his fourth marriage”.