A Hunter doctor could be suspended or deregistered after professional misconduct findings

Dr Keith Brennan in 2003 as a Newcastle University medical graduate. He is a former ambulance officer, police officer and Army medical officer who now faces suspension or deregistration.

Dr Keith Brennan in 2003 as a Newcastle University medical graduate. He is a former ambulance officer, police officer and Army medical officer who now faces suspension or deregistration.

A FORMER Hunter ambulance officer, police officer, Army medical officer and University of Newcastle scholarship-winning medical graduate faces suspension or deregistration after professional misconduct involving a female patient.

Dr Keith Brennan, of Glendale, was found guilty this week of 12 complaints of unsatisfactory professional conduct after a NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing. The tribunal said the number and serious nature of the complaints and Dr Brennan’s false and misleading answer to a Health Care Complaints Commission question meant the total behaviour constituted professional misconduct, requiring a serious response.

The tribunal heard that in 2014 Dr Brennan, who was married at the time, started a sexual relationship with a woman who was a patient, and engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a second woman patient.

The tribunal heard that Dr Brennan instructed some of his patients, including the two women, not to make appointments with the Hunter medical practice where he worked, but to go directly to seats outside his consulting room.

Other patients who had made appointments with the medical practice sat in the reception area and “sometimes had to wait two to three hours” to see him, while patients including the two women were given priority.

The tribunal accepted evidence from one of the women that Dr Brennan said: “If you want, you can have my baby. I'm very fertile and I have big balls” during one visit to the surgery, and that he wanted to take her to a Sydney hotel for the weekend.

The tribunal heard that the woman, who migrated to Australia, was isolated and depressed and experienced a miscarriage during the period she had contact with Dr Brennan. She told the tribunal her visits to the doctor “increased dramatically” after the miscarriage while her husband was often absent at work.

She agreed that she was flattered by the doctor’s attentions, but by July 2014 she sent a text message asking that he no longer contact her because she wanted to “fix” her marriage as her husband was angered by her relationship with the doctor.

The tribunal was told that four days later the woman was admitted to a mental health unit after self-harm attempts.

The tribunal found Dr Brennan failed to maintain proper professional boundaries by continuing a relationship with the patient that was intimate and sexual. It will consider whether to suspend or cancel his licence to practice medicine at a hearing in June.

Dr Brennan was a Newcastle police officer from 1984 to 2000, and studied medicine at the University of Newcastle between 1998 and 2002. Dr Brennan was deployed to Iraq and East Timor as an Army medical officer.

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