Cardiologist has reprimand verdict overturned in pacemaker insertion case

A NSW cardiologist accused of inappropriate insertion of a cardiac pacemaker has had a reprimand verdict set aside after he took his case to the Supreme Court.

Dr Roger Chatoor was granted leave to challenge a decision of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal of NSW made in August 2019 and its orders of a reprimand were replaced with the lesser penalty of a caution.

As previously reported in the limbic, Dr Chatoor was the subject of two complaints brought by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) of NSW. One complaint alleged that he had inserted a permanent pacemaker in a 92-year old woman without sufficient clinical indication.

The second complaint alleged that there was no definite arrangement made for another appropriately qualified specialist to review her before her planned discharge from Dubbo Private Hospital when Dr Chatoor was on an overseas trip.

But the Supreme Court ruled that the tribunal had erred in its decision on the appropriateness of pacemaker insertion, which was based partly on interpretation of US and European guidelines. The Court noted that four of the five experts called to give evidence, including cardiologist Professor Michael Jelinek had at some point put Dr Chatoor’s conduct within the range of reasonable conduct.

For this reason, the judges concluded the reprimand should be set aside and the conditions imposed on Dr Chatoor’s licence to practise should be removed. They ruled that the conduct as established warranted the lesser sanction of a caution.

The court ordered the HCCC to pay 75% of Dr Chatoor’s costs.

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