The WA doctor who treated Yamatji woman Ms Dhu before her death in police custody has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
By
Sarah Collard

Source:
NITV News
30 Apr 2021 - 1:46 PM  UPDATED 30 Apr 2021 - 1:46 PM

The WA doctor who treated Yamatji woman Ms Dhu before her death in police custody has been found guilty of professional misconduct.

Dr Vafa Naderi declared Yamatji woman Ms Dhu fit for custody in South Hedland in August 2014 despite her elevated heart rate and persistently saying she was in pain. 

Less than 24 hours later the 22-year-old died from severe infection and pneumonia stemming from a broken rib allegedly sustained from a domestic violence incident before she was a arrested for unpaid fines.

The Medical Board of Australia accused Dr Vafa Naderi of carrying out an inadequate examination of Ms Dhu at Hedland Health Campus the day before her death. 

The State Administrative Tribunal found Naderi's examination of Ms Dhu was inadequate and breached professional medical standards. 

In his notes after he treated Ms Dhu he recorded that he thought she was difficult to treat, citing “personality problems” and that she was agitated. 

He has been fined $30,000 - the maximum penalty the court can order.  

Dr Naderi failed to read the on-duty nurse's notes detailing Ms Dhu's tachycardia, didn't take her temperature, and did not take any chest x-rays despite the nurse saying Ms Dhu had difficulty breathing and it was the second time she had sought help over chest pains. 

The judgement also found he failed to examine Ms Dhu's lower ribs where she was showing the area was “bruised and swollen”. 

The doctor, who had more than 20 years experience as a medical practitioner, failed to provide a treatment plan to police officers and did not provide adequate records detailing Ms Dhu's vital signs or medical history.  

The SAT said the doctor is deeply remorseful over his actions and has worked with other staff to ensure signs of sepsis are not missed.   

A 2016 inquest investigating the circumstances of Ms Dhu's death found she was treated inhumanely and unprofessionally by WA Police and doctors failed to properly examine and treat the young woman. 

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