Dear Abe,

I’m really sick but unable to get to the doctor. I need to apply for special consideration and am thinking of just changing an old medical certificate and using that with the new dates. It’s my real doctor and I’m sure he would vouch for me. Is this okay?


Stuck in bed

Dear Stuck in Bed,

I strongly advise against using false or altered medical certificates ever. This is considered fraud, and this isn’t just against University rules – it’s also against the law, federal law, and potentially carries the risk of a prison sentence of twelve months, if prosecuted by the police.

The University treats this as Academic Misconduct and conducts an investigation. Faculties routinely check the authenticity of medical documents with medical practices, so what may seem like a harmless way to gain special consideration may find you suspended for a semester or two, or even at risk of being kicked out of Uni.

If you are stressed or struggling to the point you consider obtaining or creating a false medical certificate, your best option is to talk to someone about what’s going on. You could speak to an adviser in your Faculty, a Counsellor at the University’s Counselling and Psychological Services, or an SRC Caseworker. You can help explore other ways you may be able to manage your study load without risking far more serious consequences in the long term.

If you are too sick to move you can get an after hours doctor to visit your home. Check for details on the Internet. Another option if your regular doctor is not available is to look for a medical centre nearby or attend the casualty unit at your local hospital.