Recent media releases have publicised our State Administrative Tribunal’s recent decision, granting Dr Michael McGushin, former Kalgoorlie surgeon, a career lifeline, despite finding that he was grossly careless in his care of several patients, 1 of whom at least, died as a result.

Judge Chaney accepted that McGushin’s gross carelessness was not due to technical incompetence, but to his clinical decision-making and patient management.  

I doubt this is cause for great comfort.  I would have thought that clinical decision making and "patient management" (whatever this was intended to mean) are more intangible qualities and harder to learn/hone than technical skills.  

The case in which his patient died, concerned Dr McGushin’s decision to operate on the patient to remove their gall bladder when he knew the patient was at increased risk of bleeding, yet he did not wait until a supply of platelets was available.  He did not examine the patient, review their notes or test results.  The patient bled during the operation and subsequently died.

I suppose Judge Chaney was convinced that with the ongoing supervision he has ordered, that this sort of risk-taking care will not recur.  This strikes me as very, very generous indeed.  Presumably Judge Chaney was persuaded by Dr McGushin’s current ‘mentor’s’ evidence as to improvements in his approach, while now working under supervision at 2 of Perth’s leading public hospitals.


Our firm presently is handling 2 cases concerning Dr McGushin’s surgical care, whilst practising in Kalgoorlie.