Psychiatrist William Douglas Wade reprimanded by Australian medical standards committee

October 8, 2012

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted Dr William Douglas Wade, a psychiatrist, before a Medical Professional Standards Committee. The prosecution related to Dr Wade’s relationship with a long-standing patient with a complex medical background including chronic PTSD relating to childhood sexual abuse, mood instability, major depression and borderline personality disorder.

The Commission argued that Dr Wade was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct in that he failed to observe professional boundaries in relation to the patient in that he:

    exchanged messages with her on the dating website RSVP
    exchanged emails/telephone calls and text messages
    suggested they have a personal/sexual relationship
    met her for dinner
    following the dinner inappropriately touched her, kissed her and commented on her breasts.

The Tribunal found Dr Wade guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and ordered that he be reprimanded. 

The Committee commented that Dr Wade’s conduct warrants strong reprobation and noted:

    Dr Wade’s role as Patient A’s treating psychiatrist placed him in a singular position of trust in relation to a particularly vulnerable and fragile patient with a complex psychiatric history.

Source: "Dr William Douglas Wade – reprimanded by a Medical Professional Standards Committee," press release of the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission, October 4, 2012.


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