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HomeMedico-LegalLenient suspension of Aussie doctor over rape comments questioned

Lenient suspension of Aussie doctor over rape comments questioned

The health district in Australia responsible for the hospital which employs an emergency doctor who said “some women deserve to be raped” has ordered the doctor be stood down while they investigate, reports The Guardian. Earlier in April, Dr Christopher Kwan Chen Lee was suspended by the Tasmanian Health Practitioners Tribunal for six weeks after he admitted to posting a series of sexist and racist remarks online. While Lee previously worked in Tasmania, in 2018 he began work at Box Hill Hospital in Victoria as an emergency doctor, and the suspension bars him from working anywhere in Australia.

The report says Lee’s suspension was not to start until May, to give his workplace time to find a replacement. But after a public outcry about Lee’s online comments, which included: “Some women deserve to be raped, and that supercilious little bitch fits the bill in every way,” Lee was told not to return to work. About another woman, he wrote: “She needs to be abandoned in India and repeatedly raped in order for her to wake up her idea.”

Eastern Health said in the report that it had begun its own investigation into the implications of the tribunal’s findings. On Eastern Health’s Facebook page people called for Lee to be fired, while an online petition says his licence to practice medicine should be revoked. “Dr Lee will not be returning to work until the completion of this investigation,” the Eastern Health statement said. “We wish to advise that Eastern Health takes the issue of professional misconduct very seriously … we value diversity, inclusivity and living together respectfully and do not tolerate disrespectful comments or racism in any form.”

The report says a slew of offensive posts in addition to those investigated by the tribunal, have been uncovered along with examples of Lee posting photographs of medical procedures he performed and patient x-rays. In a post made about a tsunami that hit Indonesia in September, killing hundreds, Lee wrote: “Don’t bother helping that nation of ingrates.” In a post made in February, Lee wrote: “Singaporean women are some of the most materialistic, pampered and self-entitled women you are likely to meet anywhere.” He described Chinese women as “calculating, ruthless animals”. He took revenge on a woman who criticised him online by posting her nude photos on the internet, forcing her to close down her online accounts. “A new legion of perverts” would be viewing her images, he wrote, “I won”.

In other posts he insisted his online persona matched his real-life persona, going so far as to post photographs of his passport and medical degree to prove his identity, and one of himself wearing a stethoscope. When people criticised him for his comments, Lee replied, “Malaysian and Australian authorities can’t touch me for things I say on a Singaporean forum.” “Lose job in Australia over stuff posted on a Singaporean forum?” Lee, who is from Malaysia but studied medicine in Melbourne, wrote, “Are you retarded?”

The report says Lee also posted photographs of his wife and boasted about their sex life. The tribunal heard that he said in one of his posts: “If my marriage fell apart, it would not end in divorce. It would end in murder.” In a post not considered by the tribunal, Lee wrote that if his wife were to become pregnant, he would force an abortion by kicking “her down the stairs”.

While he has not deleted his profile on the online forum, he has begun deleting his most offensive comments. He also made disparaging remarks about women and explicit posts about his wife on his Facebook account, which he has deleted.

The report quotes the spokesperson for the Victorian health minister, Jenny Mikakos, as saying that the minister had asked the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency if the six-week suspension was adequate. “This behaviour is appalling and has no place in Victoria, let alone in our hospitals,” the spokesperson said.

Along with the six-week ban the tribunal ordered Lee undergo training about ethical behaviour on social media. But, the report says, Lee continued posting online, saying: “We’ll see who has the last laugh.” When a user of the forum asked him if he had completed the ethics training yet, he responded: “Shhhhhhhh.” Someone else told him to delete his problematic account and start afresh. “You can’t be serious,” Lee replied. Lee has a small following of users on the forum who support his views and treat him with reverence, though many more are critical of him.

The report says the online petition, started by the CEO of a sexual assault support service Laurel House, Justine Brooks, has almost 800 signatures. “I find these comments from a registered doctor to be outrageous and unacceptable, and I feel compelled to challenge Dr Lee’s right to practice medicine in Australia,” she said. “The harm Dr Lee is suggesting in the above messages gives us some clear insight into the way he feels about and treats women. Make no mistake, domestic and sexual violence is now a national crisis.”

The report says Lee has previously been cautioned by his former employer, Royal Hobart Hospital, for accessing a patient’s medical records on 21 occasions “without consent or clinical need”.

[link url=""]The Guardian report[/link]

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