HomeBacchus Marsh baby death scandal: Surinder Parhar will never practise again

Bacchus Marsh baby death scandal: Surinder Parhar will never practise again

The obstetrician at the centre of a hospital scandal involving seven dead babies will never practise again after a new ruling.

The disgraced doctor at the centre of the Bacchus Marsh baby death scandal will never work again.

Former Bacchus Marsh Hospital obstetrics director Dr Surinder Parhar was reprimanded and disqualified from applying to register for 12 years by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Monday.

He was head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospital between March 2008 and July 2015 when there were seven “potentially avoidable” baby deaths during his tenure.

“This was a tragic situation,” Medical Board of Australia chair Dr Anne Tonkin said on Wednesday.

“We recognise this decision may be of little comfort for the families who so sadly lost their babies. It highlights the importance of registered medical practitioners, especially those in senior positions, understanding and acting on their responsibilities to ensure safe patient care,” she said.

The 74-year-old faced the tribunal in July this year and admitted to a litany of errors, including nine counts of professional misconduct.

In 2013 a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant complained of bleeding and pain, but Dr Parhar failed to recognise it was from the death of her foetus, the court was told during the hearing.

In 10 cases where babies died, he admitted performing inadequate clinical reviews. One of the cases was a stillborn infant who was delivered via a delayed C-section after an attempted forceps delivery in 2008.

The tribunal said in its decision that disqualifying a practitioner from applying for registration effectively meant they would never practise again, which was its intention.

“For Dr Parhar, this will make no practical difference, although it may bear a greater sting,” the tribunal wrote in its decision.

“It sends a clear message to those who may still expect to have years of medical practice before them that, if they engage in similar conduct, their time as a doctor is likely to end well before their planned retirement.”

The nine counts of professional misconduct were found proven by the tribunal.

“What stands out are the years of missed opportunities to recognise and acknowledge what was going wrong and act to prevent future avoidable death,” the tribunal found.

The disgraced doctor’s barrister Ross Gillies QC previously told the hearing that Dr Parhar “feels guilty” and doesn’t seek to deflect blame.

“His whole case is while he did his very best … his very best was not good enough,” Mr Gillies said.

But he said the hospital at the time was administratively “in tatters”.


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