Doctor supplied ‘desperate’ women drugs for abortions

NZ Herald 11 April 2014
A rural doctor has been found guilty of professional misconduct for giving women drugs to induce abortions.

The physician, whose name has been kept secret, was suspended from practising for six months by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and was granted another practising certificate three days after the suspension ended.

She told the tribunal that she considered it a necessary service.

In one case, a patient later had to have a fallopian tube removed when an ectopic pregnancy ruptured, according to a decision from the tribunal.

The GP, known as Dr N, gave four women who wanted to terminate their pregnancies misoprostol. The medication is commonly used to treat stomach ulcers, but cannot be given to pregnant women as it can cause miscarriages or damage to the fetus.

Dr N, who has had more than 30 years’ experience, hid her actions by not updating the patients’ records.

She was reported to a conduct committee after a fifth-year medical student, named Dr L, witnessed her giving a woman the pills in an envelope and telling her: “I think you are having a miscarriage and this will help it along.”

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