‘Is he a real doctor?’ $700k lawsuit over alleged slurs
A DOCTOR who was sacked less than three weeks after starting work at a Queensland hospital and was the subject of questions about if he were a 'real doctor' is suing for more than $700,000.
Psychiatrist Dr Babak Akbari has launched a defamation and injurious falsehood action in the District Court after colleagues allegedly complained about him, questioning if he was a 'real doctor'.
He is suing Mackay Base Hospital and a senior doctor who terminated him from his $1500-a-day job.
In his claim, the Iranian-born medico says that before starting a six-month contract at the hospital in March last year, he had 'an unblemished reputation'.
But he says that changed when he was sacked within weeks of starting work after alleged complaints from other doctors and nurses.
They allegedly included that Dr Akbari's communication was 'extremely poor', that he asked 'unclear or odd' questions of patients and did not start reviewing patients until late in the morning.
"I was asked by one member of staff if I would please check if he was a real doctor they were so concerned in their interactions with him," a director of nursing report stated.
Resident medical officers allegedly complained that they had concerns about Dr Akbari's "overall ability to adequately perform comprehensive psychiatric assessments, risk assessments, and to formulate accurate diagnoses".
Dr Akbari's claim alleges that when he tried to get details of the complaint, senior medical officer Paul Henderson - who is being sued along with the hospital - became "aggravated", yelled at him and threatened to report him to Australia's health watchdog.
A Medical Board investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing, finding he had provided "reasonable" care and there was no record of any patient harm.
But Dr Akbari's claim states that the complaints portrayed him as "not competent to practice", a doctor who put patients and staff at risk of harm and was "abrupt, patronising and insensitive".
Dr Akbari is seeking $707,900 in damages and has hired Brendan Nyst, from high-profile Gold Coast firm Nyst Legal, to fight the case.
"My family and I have suffered immensely as a result of this complaint, all because I was unilaterally adjudged to be guilty," Dr Akbari told The Courier-Mail.
"There was no due process or opportunity to respond to the allegations. These people must be held to account."
The hospital and Dr Henderson are defending the claim and a preliminary hearing has been set down for early next year.
Originally published as 'Is he a real doctor?' $700k lawsuit over alleged slurs