A specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist has been suspended from working in Western Australia after two women accused him of misconduct, with one saying she felt “sexually sick”.
Angamuthu Arunkalavanan allegedly inappropriately touched one woman’s exposed breasts, then rubbed his erection against her knee in November 2018.
She sent text messages to her partner, saying she felt “horrible” and “sexually sick”, the State Administrative Tribunal heard.
After a complaint was made to police and the Australian Medical Board, a registered nurse was appointed as his chaperone.
But less than one year later, a second woman claimed when the chaperone nurse briefly stepped away Arunkalavanan “forcefully and without consent” inserted his fingers into her vagina.
After a complaint to police and the board, he had his medical registration suspended.
The SAT also heard a UK tribunal had previously found Arunkalavanan conducted an inappropriate breast examination when he was working in the country in 2010.
Arunkalavanan denied both of the Perth allegations and recently tried to have his suspension lifted.
He told the SAT the suspension had a “devastating impact on me, both personally and professionally”, and had cost him up to $250,000 in income.
The father-of-two also referred to how the situation had affected his relationship with his wife and the impact of COVID-19.
He added the suspension had been “disruptive to my patients, who require ongoing specialist treatment and care” and he had received requests from patients to transfer to other practitioners because of the ongoing uncertainty about the date of his return.
But the SAT ruled the suspension would remain, saying the allegations were very serious.
“Patients of … an obstetrician and gynaecologist in private practice are perhaps or arguably amongst the most potentially vulnerable of all patients seeking medical services,” Judge David Parry said.
“The risk that the practitioner may commit serious sexual misconduct and the risk of damaging public trust in medical practitioners generally – which itself is inimical to public health and safety – outweighs, in my view, any financial or personal hardship.
“The interim application … seeking a stay of the respondent’s decision … to take immediate action and suspend the applicant’s registration pending the determination of the appeal is dismissed.”