Nambour General Hospital.
Nambour General Hospital. John McCutcheon

Dr Shah to wife: 'You are mine, everything of yours is mine'

A NAMBOUR hospital doctor has been found guilty of professional misconduct and has had his registration suspended for six months for illegally accessing his dying, estranged wife's medical records.

The Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal has also ruled Dr Tahir Shah must undertake a course of "ethical decision making in patient confidentiality" before being allowed back to work.

The highly unusual case arose after Dr Shah sent an email to the oncologist treating his late wife, known only as SLC, without her permission on September 25, 2012.

He also illegally accessed his wife's online medical records and made false claims to the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Auhority (AHRPA).

The Medical Board of Australia filed the case against Dr Shah and the ruling highlighted the difficulty the board had as it had the "onus of proof".

"The standard is a demanding one because of the nature of the allegations and the serious adverse consequences for Dr Shah if they are made out."

But the Board clearly proved its case with Justice Tim Carmody, the former Chief Justice, ruling in its favour.

Dr Shah's wife had highlighted before her death her increasingly volatile marriage, which led to a death threat and a decision to separate before her husband accessed her records.

Only three months before this incident, she had complained her husband was violating her privacy without her permission by looking at her medical records without her permission.

His response was "Why not? You are mine, everything of yours is mine. I am your husband, I can check anything I want."

He also added in his opinion the Privacy Act was "Westernised rubbish".

The records show she had left her husband in August 2012 and moved to Brisbane to access treatment.

Dr Shah argued his wife had requested him to contact her doctor about her health and he was concerned whether she was receiving appropriate treatment.

Justice Carmody said Dr Shah "did not impress" as a witness of truth and his version of events was "unconvincing".

"The Tribunal finds Dr Shah abused his position of trust and confidence as a doctor and fell short of the standard of conduct that might reasonably be expected of him by the public or his professional peers," the findings read.

Dr Shah tried to argue the sanctions would not be fair as it would prevent him from "providing for his new wife and baby" and a "fine would be adequate".

He said his immigration status had been "probed and racked for over three years" because of the case.

However, the Tribunal was satisfied Dr Shah knew "it was wrong to do and instead of admitting it", continued with it to justify them and minimise the consequence.

He has also been ordered to pay costs.


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