A GP obstetrician who surrendered his medical licence has been banned from practising for 18 months and must pay a further $50,000 after a court found he had engaged in professional misconduct while treating pregnant women at a hospital in Perth’s south. The State Administrative Tribunal fined Edward Pleydell-Bouverie $20,000 and ordered he pay $30,000 toward the Medical Board of Australia’s legal costs after it found he had performed unnecessary procedures on women in labour — sometimes with dire results — during his tenure as a general practitioner obstetrician at Rockingham General Hospital between 2014 and 2017. The litany of failures by Dr Pleydell-Bouverie included performing an unnecessary vacuum extraction during a woman’s delivery, failing to properly assess an injury post-birth, which ultimately led to significant surgery, undertaking a needless episiotomy on a woman, keeping inadequate clinical records and treating a woman despite repeated requests from her not to be seen by him. But the now de-registered doctor denies his conduct ever harmed anyone and claims the hospital establishment targeted him in a wider plan to push out GP obstetricians from RGH. Dr Pleydell-Bouverie told The West Australian it was “discouraging to be persecuted in any form” and claimed RGH fostered a “toxic working environment”. “It is a difficult place to practise medicine,” Dr Pleydell-Bouverie said. He claimed the investigation, which ultimately led to the SAT’s findings, was part of a concerted effort by the hospital to push out its GP obstetricians and that complaints about his conduct did not come from patients. “It’s not like there were any unhealthy babies (born as a result),” he said. The doctor denied he ever harmed anyone, and when asked if he believed others had been hurt as a result of his clinical decision-making, Dr Pleydell-Bouverie said: “Nobody was hurt as a result. Only me and my family.” Overwhelming evidence detailed in the SAT findings suggests otherwise. One instance of misconduct from the ruling was in July 2017 when Dr Pleydell-Bouverie made a series of rogue decisions during the delivery of a woman’s first baby, which resulted in her suffering a third-degree perineal tear requiring major surgery. The GP obstetrician undertook a vacuum extraction to assist the 30-year-old’s delivery and pulled on the vacuum cup attached to the baby’s head despite the patient being between contractions. He then performed an episiotomy on the woman, a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth, despite no indications it was necessary. The clinical midwifery specialist assisting at the time, Elaine Kottler, called the on-call consultant obstetrician Abhijit Basu as she was concerned about Dr Pleydell-Bouverie’s “continued attempts at vacuum delivery”. He was instructed to abandon these efforts and prepare the patient for surgery, where Dr Basu used obstetric forceps to deliver the baby. The woman suffered a third-degree perineal tear — a tear so severe it splits through the perineum and into the muscle — requiring an internal anal sphincter repair. The SAT found there was no need for the episiotomy, which subsequently led to the third-degree tear, as there was “no basis for concern” about the patient or baby’s welfare. Just weeks before, Dr Pleydell-Bouverie failed to assess the serious tear another patient had sustained during an unnecessary vacuum delivery, which also led to surgery. The 36-year-old woman suffered a major vaginal wall tear during the delivery of her second child due to the vacuum extraction, which was found not to be clinically required as she was well on her way to giving birth with full dilation and “strong contractions”. Dr Pleydell-Bouverie, whose shift had just ended, “briefly observed” the tear post-delivery before saying words to the effect of “no suturing required” and “I am going home”. Less than half an hour later, midwife Melissa Baric diagnosed postpartum haemorrhage after she attempted to stem the bleeding and felt a large haematoma when blood collected outside the blood vessels. The GP obstetrician on the following shift sutured the woman’s blood vessel, and Dr Basu, the on-call consultant, surgically drained the haematoma and stitched the significant tear. In a third instance, Dr Pleydell-Bouverie blatantly disregarded a young patient’s request not to be treated by him despite her indicating as early as two months before her admission that she did not want him involved in her care. The 18-year-old woman was admitted in November 2017, and the midwife on duty, Helen Cook, informed Dr Pleydell-Bouverie of this request. When discussing her delivery, the woman again indicated she had “declined to receive care from (Dr Pleydell-Bouverie)“. Graduate midwife Fiona Watson reassured her that Dr Pleydell-Bouverie would not come into the room as the night-duty midwife had explained her request. Despite strict instructions to the contrary, Dr Pleydell-Bouverie entered the room and told the woman he intended to break her waters. Ms Watson asked the woman whether she was okay with this, to which the 18-year-old nodded. The SAT found Dr Pleydell-Bouverie had failed to comply with patient consent and care standards as he knew she had “clearly expressed her wish that he not be involved in her care”. He was ordered to pay $50,000 in fines and legal costs and is banned from applying for new registration for 18 months. But it is not the first time the doctor has been reprimanded over his clinical practices. From August 2017 to May 2018, Dr Pleydell-Bouverie had a condition placed on his registration by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. The national watchdog can impose a condition “to protect the public” and usually involves ordering a practitioner to do something, like further education, or preventing them from doing something related to their profession. Dr Pleydell-Bouverie was ordered to complete further education around “maintaining adequate clinical records” and “harm minimisation and prescribing for suicidal patients, or patients with a recent history of suicide attempt or suicidal ideation”. He was ordered to complete the education within six months, including a reflective practice report on the education. Dr Pleydell-Bouverie stopped working as a GP obstetrician at RGH in December 2017 and ceased obstetrics altogether after December 2020, when he shut down the women’s health clinic he operated with his wife, Dr Nichola Wood. He denies the clinic’s closure was “a direct consequence” of impending proceedings levelled by the medical regulator. Dr Pleydell-Bouverie voluntarily surrendered his medical registration in September 2023, claiming he was “hounded” by the medical establishment and giving up his licence to resolve the issue more quickly. The pair have since sold the cluster of properties that housed the Woodbridge women’s clinic and family practice, reaping a massive $6.6 million in May last year.