If I Do This, Will I Lose My Registration? A Medicolegal Ask Me Anything!


Some legal responsibilities in medicine seem pretty straight-forward – gain consent, maintain confidentiality, don’t be negligent. But other legal obligations are less clearly defined. What are my obligations if I suspect a patient has suffered domestic violence?What should I do if I need to resuscitate, but the patient has a “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattoo? What should I do if a friend or family member asks me to treat them? Explore the murkier side of patient-centred medicine with our panel of medicolegal experts who are here to answer your anonymous questions on the proper (legal) way to interact with patients.


Professor Ian Freckelton QC

Professor Ian Freckelton is an experienced Queen’s Counsel with a national practice covering numerous areas of law, including (but not limited to) health law and medical negligence, human rights law, and disciplinary law. He currently works as a senior barrister, undertaking trial and appellate litigation, as well as in advisory work, including internationally. Apart from his legal practice and advisory work, Ian is a Professorial Fellow in Law and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne where he is a Co-Director of the Health and Medical Law program, and is also an Adjunct Professor of Forensic Medicine at Monash University. Professor Freckleton is also currently a member of the Coronial Council of Victoria and the Mental Health Tribunal of Victoria, and has previously sat on numerous statutory tribunals, including the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria. In 2017, Professor Freckelton was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nauru. In 2017 Professor Freckleton was awarded an LLD by the University of Melbourne for his work in Health Law. He also holds a PhD from Griffith University.

Ms Vanessa Nicholson

Vanessa is currently the Head of Practice, Legal at Avant Law. Vanessa has been practising in the areas of health law, risk management and compliance in the healthcare Industry, insurance law, medical negligence and coroner’s inquests since 1998 in both Australia and the UK. During her career, she has acted for hospitals as well as corporate entities operating hospitals, insurers, private health organisations, medical practitioners, other health professionals and plaintiffs. Prior to joining Avant Law Vanessa was a Barrister at the Victoria Bar. She commenced at Avant Law in 2010 and since that time she has defended numerous claims for Avant members in the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria. Vanessa has dealt with the more complex and high value civil claims. She has also assisted multiple members through the professional conduct complaints process. Vanessa has extensive knowledge in civil litigation and conduct matters. She is also a trained and accredited mediator.

Dr Patricia Molloy

Dr Patricia Molloy is a general practitioner who also serves as a Tribunal Member on the Review and Regulations list at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, where she hears matters referred by the Medical Board of Australia. Dr Molloy has also previously been a Board Member for the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria (now the Medical Board of Australia) where she sat on formal and informal hearings, chaired the Registration Committee, and was a member of the Sexual Misconduct Subcommittee, the Conduct Committee, and the Finance and Administration Committee. Dr Molloy was also previously a Board Member for Melbourne Health. Prior to entering general practice, Dr Molloy worked at Eastern Health, where she held numerous positions including Deputy Medical Director, Director of Clinical Governance, Chair of Ethics Committee, and Medico-legal Officer.

Mr John Arranga

John is an experienced health and legal professional with degrees in medicine, the law and risk management and extensive experience in multiple aspects of the health care sector. John began his professional life as medical practitioner graduating from medicine in 1984 before turning to the law. He commenced legal practice in 1994 working in medical negligence as a plaintiff lawyer as well as doing professional indemnity work for nurses and product liability class actions. He has worked in medical indemnity as a lawyer, a claims manager and senior executive since 2004. Prior to establishing Ball+Partners, John was Avant’s Head of Medical Defence Services for Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT. John has a broad experience in litigation in the health law area and of the regulatory and disciplinary processes that apply to health professionals with a particular interest in disciplinary and coronial matters. John has a background in insurance law in particular in relation to policies of indemnity as they apply to health professionals. John’s skills also lie in risk management in general and clinical risk management in particular. He has expertise in Open Disclosure having sat on the Open Disclosure Steering Committee of NSW Health as a Medical Defence Organisation representative and on the Australian Commission for Quality and Safety in Health Care Open Disclosure Standard Review. He is a member of the board of Latrobe Regional Hospital.