A doctor canceled his registration after posting gory images of dead people online, including babies and women who had died violently, claiming they made him feel “warm and fuzzy”.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard that Melbourne physician Christopher Kwan Chen Lee shared horrific images, abusive comments, and confidential patient information on internet forums and social media between 2016 and 2019.
The images include dead fetuses, a small child with head injuries, women who are victims of violence, bodies with missing parts, and one of a mutilated skull with the comment: “I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. “
The Tribunal heard that when a forum user, responding to the doctor’s post in 2016, asked why he thought it was funny, Dr. Lee replied, “I’ll just do it, man. When I look at gory photos, I get a sense of fascinated wonder along with a warm and fuzzy feeling. And hunger”.
In another post about the lower half of a severed body, Dr. Lee said: “It’s more fun if you let your imagination run wild with possible scenarios.”
Camera Icon Dr. Christopher Kwan Chen Lee has been disqualified. Credit: Included
He also made a series of offensive comments on forums, including “Dumb girls get the abusive boyfriends they deserve,” “daughters of overprotective parents usually end up sucking the most dicks”; “he should have cut off his cheating mistress instead,”; and “kill her and wear her skin”.
He also noted that if his wife filed for divorce, he would cut her open from sternum to anus, tear out her entrails, and bathe in her blood.
VCAT found the doctor guilty of professional misconduct this month and withdrew his registration.
Dr. Lee has not practiced since the Medical Board of Australia suspended him in June 2019.
He accepted that his posts were “horrific” and “completely unacceptable”, depicted violence, expressed misogyny, and exhibited behavior “contrary to medical standards”.
He argued that his registration should be suspended, not canceled, as his behavior was “causally linked” to his then-undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) mental illness.
The Tribunal was told that Dr. Lee had received psychological treatment for these and other problems and that he had developed insight and remorse.
His practitioners also believed he could return to practice safely, subject to conditions such as supervision and a ban on posting material to online forums.
Camera icon The Tribunal found that Dr. Lee’s medical condition played a “material role” in his behavior. Credit: Included
dr. Lee argued that he should only be suspended until mid-2023 when states were imposed when he returned to practice.
However, the medical board stated that while Dr. Lee’s ASD was a pertinent factor, his “unusual interest” in the information he posted was not explained by his condition and did not significantly diminish his moral guilt. He argued that he would have to be disqualified from applying for registration until June 2025, bringing his total disqualification period to six years.
The Tribunal said it was a difficult case as Dr. Lee’s autism spectrum disorder played a “material role” in his behavior, and he was now treated and “effectively managed”.
Camera IconVCAT described the behavior as “outrageous.” Credit: istock
“On the one hand, the behavior is so outrageous and so far beyond the standards expected of — and the trust placed in — the doctors that it’s hard to see Dr. Lee could one day successfully return to the practice in a way that would allay community concerns and protect the reputation of the medical profession,” said VCAT.
“On the other hand, there is little doubt… given the totality of the medical evidence… that Dr. Lee has played a material role in his behavior that his ASD is now being treated and managed effectively and, given his relatively young age of 35, it would be a shame if he were never able to return to practice.”
Overall, the Tribunal found that his moral guilt was mitigated “to a moderate degree” by his ASD, affecting his ability to perceive warning signs that he had crossed appropriate professional boundaries.
The Tribunal ruled that Dr. Lee was disqualified until December 9, 2023, bringing his total disqualification period to four and a half years.