A Melbourne doctor who repeatedly called for women to be raped in online posts has been suspended indefinitely by Australia’s health regulator.
- Dr Christopher Kwan Chen Lee was initially suspended for six weeks in April
- The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency has now suspended him indefinitely
- Dr Lee was a vocal member of Singaporean chat rooms, where he wrote derogatory and violent comments
Christopher Kwan Chen Lee was suspended for six weeks in April after being found guilty of professional misconduct, including making “inappropriate comments” in Singaporean chat rooms.
The posts, brought before a tribunal, included comments such as: “Some women deserve to be raped, and that supercilious little bitch fits the bill in every way.”
His suspension was due to end on June 11, but the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has confirmed it has suspended Dr Lee’s registration indefinitely, effective yesterday.
“The Board has taken this action in the public interest to maintain confidence in the medical profession,” AHPRA said in a statement.
AHPRA does not have the legal power to completely deregister medical practitioners — that decision has to be made by an independent tribunal.
The Victorian Branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) called for the Medical Board of Australia to show “zero tolerance” to Dr Lee.
“We think that in this situation, attitudes that condone violence towards women and particularly promote a rape culture are just completely unacceptable,” AMA Victoria President Julian Rait said.
A self-described ‘mongrel doctor’
The 31-year-old graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2012, and was working as a registrar at Melbourne’s Box Hill Hospital when he was found guilty by the Tasmanian Health Practitioners Tribunal.
He had formerly worked as a registrar at the Royal Hobart Hospital and a hospital in Traralgon.
In July 2018, Dr Lee was issued a separate caution after he accessed a patient’s medical records 21 times “without consent or clinical need”.
Dr Lee was prolific in Singaporean chat rooms, where he described himself as a “mongrel doctor” and made consistent references to his work as a doctor, including posting photos of himself in scrubs.
In one of the posts seen by the Tasmanian tribunal, he said:
“If my marriage fell apart, it would not end in divorce. It would end in murder.
“I am a medical practitioner. I also have a foul mouth and call a spade a spade.
“I can just as easily condemn your mother for a whore.”
‘Potential to cause harm to the public’
In the April 17 tribunal decision, chairman Robert Webster said Dr Lee’s comments were “disrespectful of women”, “racially discriminatory” and had “potential to cause harm to the public”.
The tribunal referred to about 20 posts when making its decision, but many more vulgar remarks could be found under his pseudonym.
In threads where he answered other posters’ questions, he dispensed medical advice and talked about his salary — but also posted sexist and racist remarks.
In one answer, he said he had “no regrets whatsoever” about posting explicit photos of another user.
One post from the same username contained x-rays of a fractured wrist he said he set and plastered.
Box Hill Hospital is a part of Eastern Health, one of Melbourne’s largest public health services.
In a statement, Eastern Health chief medical officer Alison Dwyer said the organisation was complying with all findings of the Medical Board of Australia.
“Dr Lee is currently not working at Eastern Health. Eastern Health takes the issue of professional misconduct seriously,” Dr Dwyer said.
“Eastern Health does not tolerate any form of violence and discrimination and any such action is not welcome in our workplace or in our community.”
An Australasian College for Emergency Medicine spokesperson said the college was considering the matter.
The ABC has attempted to contact Dr Lee.