Rollover doctor conduct 'improper'

A medical practitioner who did not stop to give first aid after an out-of-control car narrowly missed her own vehicle and rolled has been found guilty of improper conduct.

Leila Maria Dekker, who had a passenger when a Land Rover veered towards her in Roebourne and then rolled into a ditch in April 2002, instead drove a short distance to report the incident at a police station.

This month, the State Administration Tribunal found her claim that she was in shock, terrified and concerned about alcoholism and violence in the community could not justify her decision not to stop and help the car's occupants.

"The practitioner was not simply 'a shocked and distraught woman' but rather a member of the medical profession who had gone through a no doubt frightening near-miss experience, but was thankfully physically unharmed, and was aware that another vehicle had or may have crashed in her vicinity," the tribunal found in its decision.

"Because she is a member of the medical profession, and therefore a person with medical knowledge and skills to save life and to heal the sick and injured in the community, her professional duty required that she overcome or at least put aside the shock and provide assistance to the occupant or occupants of the second vehicle.

"In order to save life, first aid may need to be rendered immediately. Any delay in providing first aid after a traumatic injury, even a delay of a short period, could result in death."

Dr Dekker's penalty for her improper conduct is yet to be determined.

The Medical Board of Australia had gone further than alleging improper conduct, claiming Dr Dekker was guilty of "infamous conduct" that would be considered "disgraceful or dishonourable by professional colleagues".

The SAT said the fact she had gone straight to a police station meant the harsher allegation should fail.

Dr Dekker did not have a torch or a mobile phone with her when the near-miss occurred.

It was dark when the car veered towards her at a junction, forcing her to drive across the road and narrowly miss the Land Rover, which then drove down an embankment.

Dr Dekker heard the noise of a possible crash but it was her passenger who suggested the car had rolled and that she should go to police.

The accident, which resulted in a fatality in the Land Rover, initially landed Dr Dekker a wrongful conviction for dangerous driving causing death.

It was quashed in 2009 after appeal judges found the Land Rover had been out of control before the doctor drove out in front of it.