Small- town doc­tor’s sus­pen­sion leaves preg­nant women stranded

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

EXPECTANT moth­ers are be­ing forced to drive hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres to de­liver their ba­bies af­ter their ob­ste­tri­cian was sus­pended when it was re­vealed he had a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion.

Dr Jo­hannes “Bernie” Haas­broek claims he was de­liv­er­ing more than 140 ba­bies a year while work­ing at Lee­ton Hospi- tal in the Rive­rina, un­til be­ing stood down last year.

Since then, lo­cal health of­fi­cials have been un­able to re­place him.

As there is only one other ob­ste­tri­cian in town, who only works part-time, women are be­ing forced to drive an hour to Grif­fith Hos­pi­tal to give birth.

Last Sun­day, the wife of a doc­tor de­liv­ered her own baby at the side of the road while on her way to Grif­fith Hos­pi­tal, while another gave birth at Lee­ton Hos­pi­tal at a time when no doc­tors were on the premises.

Dr Haas­broek was sus­pended af­ter be­ing con­victed of do­mes­tic as­sault, breach­ing an Apprehended Vi­o­lence Or­der and stalk­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion of­fences, re­sult­ing in a ninemonth good be­hav­iour bond.

The con­vic­tion fol­lowed a sep­a­rate on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a still­birth that oc­curred on his watch while he was work­ing as a vis­it­ing med­i­cal of­fi­cer at Ce­duna Hos­pi­tal, South Aus­tralia, in 2015.

The in­ci­dent led to a se­ries of “un­der­tak­ings” to na­tional med­i­cal watch­dog the Aus­tralian Health Prac­ti­tioner Reg­u­la­tion Agency re­lat­ing to treat­ing preg­nant women.

The un­der­tak­ings — a le­gal agree­ment “to pro­tect the pub­lic”— were known to the hos­pi­tal, which al­lowed Dr Haas­broek to con­tinue work­ing un­der su­per­vi­sion.

South African-born Dr Haas­broek, 50, was also caught up in a med­i­cal neg­li­gence case in 2010, which led to a pa­tient be­ing awarded $290,000.

Dr Haas­broek.

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