Vet guilty of scan breach

The Press - - News - Martin Van Bey­nen

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.

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