A doctor who prescribed her husband nearly 4000 pills over three months, ending up in intensive care, has been disciplined for professional misconduct.

In that time her husband was taken to the intensive care unit for delirium and severe agitation.

The doctor, who has permanent name suppression, appeared before the New Zealand Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal for the prescribing of medication to her husband over a period of six years from January 2010 to May 2016.

A fine of $5000 was imposed, as well as $12,000 to pay to the tribunal and Professional Conduct Committee and the doctor was censured.


Her husband was prescribed a variety of medication including tramadol, codeine, various antidepressants, psychotropic medication as well as some Class C controlled drugs.

"The prescriptions were for the most part, Class B and C controlled drugs with a high risk of abuse and dependency and the prescribing continued despite Mr D [the husband] exhibiting increasing signs of dependency and tolerance certainly through the later years."

Charge records showed 108 out of 180 prescriptions did not have any accompanying record in the patient notes.

"The consequences of the practitioner's actions were significant; being a significant contributor to her husband's admission to the hospital ICU for two days and the hospital ward for a further eight days.

"In the period from January to April, 3780 tablets were prescribed over 84 days, which is 45 tablets per day, 450mg, over this three-month period," the tribunal judgment says.

It also noted that the doctor "was very reluctant to prescribe medication to her husband, and on several occasions urged him to seek GP care, but he refused to see another GP".

"There is no question that this conduct constitutes malpractice, negligence and that it brings discredit on the medical profession."