Register
Professional Misconduct

William Kwok Wa Ma


Address: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Sex: Male
Occupation: Doctor
Date: 8 February 2005


Details



Dr William Kwok Wa Ma was reprimanded on 8 February 2005 by a Medical Tribunal.


The Health Care Complaints Commission, (“The Commission”) has complained that Dr Ma was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct, and/or professional misconduct; see sections 36 and 37 of The Medical Practice Act, (“The Act”). By reason of that complaint, the Tribunal conducted an enquiry.


The complaint is in substance that Dr Ma, who has long been hepatitis B positive, was dishonest about that status when seeking registration as a doctor, performed exposure prone procedures on patients knowing his hepatitis B positive status, putting the patients at risk, failed to check on his own status from time to time, contrary to policy of the New South Wales Medical Board, and was dishonest to Medical Board members in a section 66 enquiry, to the Commission in correspondence and also with his treating doctor.


The complaint, which was dated 1 July 2004, contained the following four complaints:


(1)That Dr Ma demonstrated lack of judgment in the practice of medicine and/or has been guilty of improper or unethical conduct relating to the practice of medicine, or contravened sections 188 (d) and/or 188 (f) of the Act by answering "no" to the question, "Have you in the past or presently, suffered from any physical or mental disability that may impair your ability to practise medicine?" in his written application to the New South Wales Medical Board for registration as an intern on 23 October 1997, when he knew at the time, that he was, and had since 1989, been hepatitis B positive, that he had hepatitis B antigen status in 1992, that he had not made inquiries since 1993 as to his hepatitis B status, and that he was to undertake exposure prone procedures as a medical practitioner.


(2)That he had been guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and/or professional misconduct in that he had performed exposure prone procedures on patients between 1998 and 2000, contrary to the principles set out in the New South Wales Medical Board policy statement 1997 update, Medical Practitioners and Blood Borne Viruses, particularly HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, paragraph 2.4, and/or the New South Wales Department of Health HIV and hepatitis B Infected Health Care Workers Circular 95/8, in circumstances where he was and had, since 1989, been hepatitis B positive. Further, he had hepatitis B antigen status in 1992, had not made inquiries since 1993 as to his hepatitis B status, was between 1998 and 2000 aware that he was infected with a blood borne virus, namely hepatitis B, was aware of the risk of infecting patients when undertaking the procedures, and he put his personal interests of pursuing his medical career above the interests of his patients.


(3)That he had been guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and/or professional misconduct in that, between 25 October 1997 and March 2000, he failed, contrary to the principles in the New South Wales Medical Board policy statement 1997, update Medical Practitioners and Blood Borne Viruses, particularly HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, paragraph 2.2, to know or take steps to know his blood borne status and in particular, hepatitis B status, when undertaking or could reasonably have been expected to be undertaking exposure prone procedures on patients within that period.


(4)That he was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and/or professional misconduct in that he provided false and misleading information, (a) in an enquiry conducted by the Medical Board under section 66 of the Medical Practice Act on 7 April 2000, when he stated that Dr Lee had told him, "Everything was fine," and had not told him that he was HBeAG positive, (b) in a letter to the Health Care Complaints Commission dated 18 November 2002, when he stated, "To the best of my recollection I was not made aware that I was HBAG positive until I was admitted to hospital in March 2000." (c) when admitted to St George Hospital in March 2000, he stated to Dr Freiman, his treating doctor, "That he worked in a restaurant as a waiter," and did not disclose that he was a medical practitioner.


The orders made by the Tribunal were;


1.            All parts of the complaint were proved.


2.            (a) The conduct proved amounts to professional misconduct;


(b) Dr Ma is reprimanded.


3.            Dr. Ma’s right to practice will be subjected to conditions:


4.            Dr Ma is to pay the Commission’s costs.


5.            Suppression order as to any details which might identify any patients.