A doctor has had his registration canceled after posting gory images of dead people online, including babies and women who had died violently, claiming they gave him a “warm and fuzzy feeling”.
Melbourne doctor Christopher Kwan Chen Lee shared gruesome images, offensive comments, and confidential patient information on internet forums and social media between 2016 and 2019, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.
The images included deceased fetuses, a small child with head injuries, women the victims of violence, bodies with missing parts, and one of a mangled skull with the comment: “I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry.”
The Tribunal heard that when one forum user, responding to the doctor’s post in 2016, asked why he found it amusing, Dr. Lee replied: “I just do, man. Looking at gore pics leaves me filled with a sense of fascinated wonder, along with a warm and fuzzy feeling. And hunger”.
Dr Lee wrote in another post about the bottom half of a severed body: “It’s more fun if you let your imagination run wild with possible scenarios.”
Camera IconDr Christopher Kwan Chen Lee has been disqualified. Credit: Supplied
He also made a series of offensive comments in forums, including that: “Dumb girls get the abusive boyfriends they deserve” and “daughters of overprotective parents usually end up sucking the most d***s”; “he should have slashed his cheating mistress instead”; and “kill her and wear her skin”.
He also commented if his wife filed for divorce, he would: “Slice her open from sternum to anus, rip out her entrails and bathe in her blood”.
VCAT found the doctor guilty of professional misconduct this month and canceled his registration.
Dr. Lee has not practiced since the Medical Board of Australia suspended him in June 2019.
He accepted his posts were “gruesome” and “utterly unacceptable”, depicted violence, expressed misogyny, and involved conduct “inconsistent with the standards for doctors”.
He argued his registration should be suspended rather than canceled, given his conduct was “causally linked” to his then undiagnosed mental health condition of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The Tribunal was told Dr. Lee had been receiving psychological treatment for this and other issues and had developed insight and remorse.
His treating practitioners also considered he could safely return to practice, with conditions including supervision and a ban on posting material in online forums.
Camera IconThe Tribunal found D.r Lee’s medical condition played a ‘material role’ in his conduct. Credit: Supplied
Dr. Lee argued he should only be suspended until mid-2023, which conditions imposed when he returned to practice.
However, the Medical Board submitted while Dr. Lee’s ASD was a relevant factor, his “unusual interest” in the information he posted was not explained by his condition. It did not significantly reduce his moral culpability. It argued he should be disqualified from applying for registration until June 2025, which would take his total disqualification period to six years.
The Tribunal said it was a difficult case, given Dr. Lee’s autism spectrum disorder played a “material role” in his conduct, and he was now being treated and “managed effectively”.
Camera IconVCAT described the conduct as ‘outrageous’. Credit: istock
“On the one hand, the conduct is so outrageous and so far beyond the standards expected of – and the trust reposed in – the medical practitioners that it is hard to see that Dr. Lee could ever successfully return to practice in a manner that would assuage community concern and protect the reputation of the medical profession,” VCAT said.
“On the other hand, there is little doubt … having regard to the totality of the medical evidence … that Dr. Lee’s ASD has played a material role in his conduct, that his ASD is now being treated and managed effectively and, given his relatively young age of 35, it would be unfortunate if he were never able to return to practice.”
Overall, the Tribunal found his moral culpability was “mitigated to a moderate degree” by his ASD, which affected his ability to perceive any warning signs he had crossed appropriate professional boundaries.
The Tribunal ruled D.r Lee be disqualified until December 9, 2023, bringing his total disqualification period to four-and-a-half years.