The child and his mother had attended for an appointment so that the GP might try to help the child swallow his ADHD medication. The GP attempted to teach the child how to swallow the medication over a period of about 50 minutes. The child refused and fidgeted in his chair. At one stage, the GP placed his feet on the top of the child’s feet in an attempt to keep him still. The child continued to refuse and the GP said words to the effect of “I’m going to wallop you”, “I’ll strap you to the bed and force you to take it”, and forcefully squeezed the child’s cheeks together. After about 50 minutes, the child threw the medication across the room. The GP reacted by slapping the child on the right cheek with an open hand, causing a linear bruise.

In October 2014, the GP pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm. He was fined $2,500 with no conviction recorded.

The GP accepted that his conduct during the consultation amounted to professional misconduct. The Tribunal described the GP’s conduct as an outrageous overreaction to a trying situation. The GP had become involved in a power struggle and finally lost self-control. He lost his professional detachment and became personally involved.

The Tribunal ordered that the GP be suspended for a period of 2 months, as a general deterrance to all other practitioners.

To read the decision in The Health Ombudsman v David John Levick [2017] QCAT 88, click here.