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Gold Coast doctor faces child abuse allegations

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A Gold Coast paediatrician is likely to face charges after allegedly hog-tying a young boy on the floor of his medical surgery in front of the boy's mother. Fiona Barnett reports.

Actual photo taken in the doctor's surgery by the mother.

A PROMINENT Gold Coast paediatrician is under investigation after photos allegedly showing him hog-tying a young boy on the floor of his Southport surgery were presented to police and the medical registration board.

The medical practitioner, Dr Neville Goodwin Davis, who has practised on the Gold Coast for some 30 years, is now facing allegations of assault and deprivation of liberty.

The boy’s mother says she consulted Dr Davis over concerns her child had the developmental condition Asperger syndrome. Dr Davis allegedly immediately dismissed this suggestion and proceeded with his diagnostic method.

The doctor allegedly retrieved a set of ropes stored in his office, placed the child belly down on the floor of his surgery and expertly hot-tied the child.
Dr Neville Davis

According to the mother, Dr Davis then commented:
“See, he doesn’t have Aspergers. If he had Aspergers, he would be screaming hysterically by now.”

The mother reports that, at first, her son was placid because he thought it was a game. When the child managed to free his hands, she says Dr Davis became visibly angry and frustrated and sat on the child’s lower back.

At this, the boy did start screaming hysterically: “Get off me! Get off me!”

The paediatrician is said to have refused to get off the child, saying:
“I’ll get off you after you stop throwing a temper tantrum.”

“He nearly snapped his back,” the mother said.

The child was left traumatised by the incident, which allegedly exacerbated his pre-existing condition and caused him to suffer nightmares.

The mother says that when the child said he wanted to go to the bathroom, the paediatrician told him:
 “I’ll take you to the toilet. I’ll put your head down the toilet.”

The incident occurred on October 31, 2012. Though in a state of shock, the mother managed to photograph the assault [images included in this story].

She then spent the following four months reporting the matter to whoever would listen. She showed the photos to her family doctor and to her son’s school principal, but neither of these parties reported the incident, allegedly defying mandatory reporting legislation. As a result, these individuals are said to also be under investigation.

Finally, the child’s replacement paediatrician reported the assault to the medical registration board. The Child Protection unit of Surfers Paradise Police are currently investigating the doctor, who has been ordered to present himself to their watch house later tomorrow (14/8/13).

In June 2013, the medical registration board sent the mother a letter stating that Dr Davis was under investigation and facing numerous charges including medical negligence of a child.

Despite allegedly being under investigation for assault, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) ‒ which oversees the medical board ‒ to date records Dr Neville Davis’ medical registration status as current.

When questioned today why Dr Davis was still listed as registered, an AHPRA representative stated:

“AHPRA is advised by courts if a practitioner has been arrested. However, AHPRA has the ability to take immediate action in severe cases.” 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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