Drinking doctor escapes on technicality

An obstetrician who downed several glasses of wine at a party before acting “belligerently” when called to treat a pregnant patient has escaped sanction — partly because of a legal technicality.

Although Dr John Andrew Schmidt’s drinking would have ordinarily constituted unsatisfactory professional conduct, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that the complainant had failed to make the case adequately.

Dr Schmidt was working as a locum at the Lismore Base Hospital on 30 October 2013 when he was summoned to treat the pregnant woman around 11pm.

He had earlier attended a social function where he consumed at least 5.85 standard drinks, including two glasses of champagne and several glasses of wine.

The patient and her mother alleged that Dr Schmidt had been “slumped” in his chair when he first met them in the