Fatal crash in Brassell in November 2009.
Fatal crash in Brassell in November 2009.

Doctor gave green light to epileptic driver who struck teen

SHAUN du Plessis was killed in Brassall in 2009 when a driver had an epileptic seizure behind the wheel of a car and struck a 19-year-old.

Now the doctor who gave the driver the medical go-ahead has been banned from doing the same again and has been fined $10,000 - but has avoided having his registration suspended.

A court heard Ipswich doctor Steven Hamish Andrew issued medical certificates on June 2, 2006 and November 2, 2009 to the driver known in the court judgment as AB, allowing AB to drive.

The second certificate was just weeks before the crash.

AB had a history of post-traumatic epilepsy following a head injury in 1979.

On November 26, 2009 AB had an epileptic attack on the road, passed out and struck Mr du Plessis, who died at the scene.

The court heard AB had been involved in numerous accidents that other doctors said his epilepsy may have caused.

The Medical Board of Australia took disciplinary action against Dr Andrew who admitted issuing the certificates was an "unsatisfactory professional performance".

Dr Andrew said the discipline should be a prohibition on issuing medical certificates to let people drive and a requirement he take a course teaching him how to deal with difficult patients.

The board called for his registration to be suspended for nine months as well as the prohibition and training conditions.

But Dr Andrew said suspending his registration would have hurt the community and put his full case load onto other busy Ipswich doctors.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren said he did not think Dr Andrew was likely to make a similar mistake again - and accepted Dr Andrew's claims suspending his registration would harm the community.

Instead he ordered Dr Andrew pay a $10,000 fine plus the board's legal costs. He also banned Dr Andrew from giving medical certificates allowing people to drive.


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