09 Jul 2020
A nurse who had a relationship with a patient has been reprimanded for professional boundary violations and banned from working as a nurse or from providing any health services for ten years following a referral by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found Robert Monteduro acted in a manner that amounts to professional misconduct when he failed to observe a proper professional relationship with a patient ‘VXJ’ while she was an inpatient and after her discharge from hospital in May 2012. Mr Monteduro carried out formal risk assessments of VXJ and was directly involved in her care during a psychiatric inpatient episode at the Lyell McEwin Hospital from late March 2012.
The relationship between Mr Monteduro and VXJ was a sexual one from at least July 2012 until November 2015. The tribunal found, among other things, that Mr Monteduro manipulated VXJ into not receiving ongoing psychiatric care during their relationship, prompted VXJ to take out a lease of a rental unit, established a joint self-managed superannuation fund with VXJ and represented to Centrelink that he was VXJ’s carer.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) asked Ahpra to investigate the matter in August 2012 after receiving a notification that the patient was living with Mr Monteduro. In July 2013 the NMBA took immediate action and accepted an undertaking from Mr Monteduro not to practise after information came to light that contradicted his version of events provided at an earlier interview. Mr Monteduro has not practised since that time.
On 4 May 2020, the tribunal ordered that:
• Mr Monteduro is reprimanded
• Mr Monteduro’s registration as a nurse is cancelled;
• Pursuant to s 196(4)(a) of the National Law, Mr Monteduro is disqualified from applying for registration for a period of 10 years;
• Pursuant to s 196(4)(b) of the National Law, Mr Monteduro is prohibited from providing any health service for 10 years.
The tribunal also found that Mr Monteduro provided false and misleading explanations during the Board’s investigation.
NMBA Chair, Lynette Cusack, said: ‘The Board welcomes this outcome and the deterrent it should send to others. Nurses have a unique and special role within the community and the Board will not accept such breaches of trust.’
Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher, said: ‘This is a very significant violation of patient trust and what the community rightly expects of a registered health practitioner. Ahpra and the National Boards will not hesitate to take action in such cases.’
The full decision is available on the Austlii website.
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