21 November 2020


In Medical Board of Australia v Soh (Review and Regulation) [2019] VCAT 1549 the TRibunal considered claims of forgery and practitioner by a clinician. 

The Tribunal states 

The respondent in this matter, Dr Soh, is a medical practitioner. This matter has come before us as a disciplinary matter in relation to Dr Soh and there has been an Agreed Statement of Facts and Agreed Determination. At the outset of the hearing this morning we indicated that the panel did not need to hear submissions from either party as we have read the whole file, being the Tribunal Book, and we have read the agreed statement of facts and we have also read the determination. On that basis we are of the opinion that we are able to give an oral decision in this matter and we will do so in due course. 

The following facts are set out in the agreed statement of facts: 


Dr Bryan Min Han Soh claimed authorship of an article which was published in Annals of Medicine and Surgery on 22 March 2017, titled ‘The use of super-selective mesenteric embolization as a first-line management of acute lower-gastrointestinal bleeding’. 

That article was plagiarised from the original article titled ‘Super-Selective Mesenteric Embolization Provides Effective Control of Lower GI Bleeding’ published in the Journal of Radiology, Research and Practice on 22 January 2017, authored by Toan Pham, Ian Faragher and others and undertaken by the Colorectal Unit, Department of Surgery, Western Health. 

Dr Pham, the primary author of the original article, sent a draft of the article to Dr Soh on 5 August 2014 for him to consider whether he could make a contribution. Dr Soh undertook proof reading, basic editing, and minor additions, but Dr Pham did not consider that Dr Soh had made a sufficient contribution to be listed as a contributing author for publication of the article. 

Dr Soh used the plagiarised article to gain entry to the Surgical Education and Training (SET) in General Surgery program of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). 

On 31 March 2017, Dr Soh submitted an application for SET to RACS supported by a curriculum vitae which contained the plagiarised article. 

On 16 March 2017, Dr Soh was advised by letter that his result in the RACS Surgical Science Generic Examination (Examination) was a ‘FAIL’. 

Dr Soh forged his RACS Surgical Science Generic Examination result letter dated 16 March 2017 by altering the ‘FAIL’ result to a ‘PASS’ result. Dr Soh altered the Examination result letter in order to gain entry to the SET in General Surgery program of the RACS. 

On 31 March 2017, Dr Soh submitted an application for SET to RACS containing the fraudulent Examination letter. Western Health undertook an investigation into the plagiarism by Dr Soh in 2017. 

On or about 28 June 2017, Dr Soh provided copies of emails between himself and the Journal of Surgery Case Reports which were not true copies of the originals and had been altered. The alterations made it appear that Mr Pham had been copied in to the email, and inserted text into the body of the email. 

On 3 November 2017, Western Health issued Dr Soh a formal warning to be placed on his file for 12 months, and did not renew his contract of employment which was to end in January 2018. 

On 30 January 2018, the offer by RACS to Dr Soh to undertake SET was withdrawn on the basis that the information in the application was not true.

The outcome was 

 Dr Soh admits and the Tribunal finds that he engaged in the conduct particularised in the Agreed Facts and the Allegations. 
Dr Soh admits and the Tribunal finds that his conduct breached principles of the Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia (March 2014). 
The Tribunal finds that the conduct of Dr Soh as particularised in the Agreed Facts and Allegations 1 and 2 constitutes ‘professional misconduct’ within the meaning of paragraphs (a) and/or (b) of the definition of professional misconduct in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009. 
The respondent is reprimanded pursuant to s. 196(2)(a) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009 (National Law). 
The respondent is fined $10,000 (to be paid on or before 19 November 2019) pursuant to s. 196(2)(c) of the National Law. 
The respondent’s registration is subject to conditions requiring him to undertake education on ethics, specifically academic integrity and research ethics in the terms outlined in Annexure “A” pursuant to s. 196(2)(b)(i) of the National Law.