Vet guilty of scan breach
A veterinarian has been found guilty of professional misconduct for accessing her mother-in-law’s cancer scan.
The Christchurch vet faced a two-day disciplinary hearing before the judicial committee of the Veterinary Council this week.
The committee chaired by Wellington barrister Jo Hughson ruled the vet, whose name is suppressed, breached privacy rules when she used her vet clinic’s login to access her mother-in-law’s scan.
She was censured, ordered to undertaking training and pay 40 per cent of the hearing’s costs.
The hearing was told the vet had access to both human and animal records through a login to the Pacific Radiology Group’s (PRG) database.
In July 2014, the woman used the login to look at her mother-inlaw’s MRI scan, which had been taken at PRG’s St George’s Hospital facility in Merivale. The vet told her husband his mother had terminal bowel cancer.
He told the hearing that finding out his mother’s result in the vet clinic in front of staff ‘‘heightened the stress and pain’’.
She had offered him no comfort or support and just returned to work. ‘‘I distinctly recall leaving the clinic and looking back at [name suppressed] as she went inside and returned to work. She didn’t wave or acknowledge me,’’ he said.
He said she would never understand why, when he wrote his statement for the hearing, ‘‘I had to fight through tears as I recounted the trauma she inflicted on me’’.
He and his wife separated in 2015. His mother died about three weeks after the scan.
The hearing was told vets no longer had access to PRG human database.