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NZ Herald
Doctor censured following number of unprofessional behaviour incidents, including cut-throat gestures
May 1, 2019

Psychiatrist Rui Mendel

Psychiatrist Rui Mendel

A psychiatrist has been censured after he was found to have behaved unprofessionally towards two patients and colleagues during his practice.

Doctor Rui Mendel was found to make a throat-slitting gesture towards a colleague but while the action was found to be misconduct, a tribunal said it did not warrant disciplinary action.

The psychiatrist was also found to have misled a patient’s mother, behaved inappropriately towards colleagues and kept inadequate notes in relation to a 2014 case.

Details were published yesterday by the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal of a decision it made in December last year.

In the decision, Mendel was censured, fined $5000 and ordered to pay a contribution to costs of $71,000.

His appeal to have his name suppressed was rejected.

“The public are entitled to that information in the decision to choose the practitioner as their psychiatrist or take professional advice or assistance from him,” the tribunal’s decision said.

“Contrary to the submission made on the practitioner’s behalf, the Tribunal finds that it is in the public interest that his name and identity be associated with the events and the decision of the Tribunal.”

It was alleged Mendel misled a woman about changing their child’s medication and claiming to not know why in 2014. He later told a colleague of the lie but instructed her not to document anything.

It was also alleged Mendel acted unprofessionally toward supervised colleagues in 2014 which warranted disciplinary action.

The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) conceded there had been no concerns or complaints since the misconduct occurred.

A number of mitigating factors also came into play, including the health of Mendel’s parents and the time since the original complaints.

Taking in all factors, the PCC said Mendel should be censured and suspended for eight months.

However, the Tribunal ordered that he be censured, fined and attend a number of approved Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) courses or training.

These included courses in professional interaction and communications with parents and colleagues and professional obligations and ethics.