It is in fact difficult for the Committee to imagine a clearer example of an offence relevant to a physician’s suitability to practise than a finding, as in this case, that he has assaulted his patients in his office during the course of a medical examination.However, the committee ultimately concluded that he was a low risk to reoffend. The panel noted that “the rehabilitative needs of
It is theThe College further argued that the committee’s penalty ruling was made “without regard to changing social values around penalties for sexual abuse committed by physicians on their patients”. This marked a departure from the CPSO’s standard operating procedure, as the College does not regularly appeal decisions of the discipline committee. However, groping remains a grey area in terms of physician behavior that results in a penalty, and the appeal is indicative of the CPSO’s attempt to proactively address such actions. In almost every other form of sexual assault, including oral sex, masturbation, and penetration, the penalty is mandatory revocation of a medical license. In situations involving groping, whether or not to revoke a license is at the discretion of the discipline committee. Following the committee’s decision, and in another rare move, the CPSO publicly commented on the matter, telling the Toronto Star that:
position that revocation, which was the penalty it sought before the committee, is the appropriate penalty in this case, given the utterly egregious and deliberate nature of the respondent’s sexual misconduct towards his female patients
The College is disappointed in the discipline panel’s decision not to revoke
licence… ouncil supports revisions to the legislation that would require mandatory revocation in any case where physical sexual contact with a patient is proven to have occurred.
The public’s confidence in the medical profession demands more from the disciplinary process than recent sexual abuse discipline cases suggest…In the case of sexual touching of breasts of multiple female patients under the pretense of a medical exam, I would expect the committee to be debating whether to revoke the member’s registration or impose a suspension measured in years, as opposed to months.The Court went on to say:
The facts of these cases are base. It is depressing to review them. They do little to encourage confidence in the committee’s approach to eradicating sexual abuse in the profession. Consistency in the imposition of sentence is a proper consideration, but a litany of clearly unfit penalties does not justify the penalty imposed in the present case…The penalty imposed … was clearly unfit. It was inadequate to protect the public and vindicate the integrity of the profession.Following the Divisional Court decision, the CPSO commented again to the Toronto Star, stating:
Sexual abuse is a serious violation of the doctor-patient relationship. As we have advocated for in our sexual abuse initiative, and set out in our proposal to the Minister of Health to amend legislation, penalties for sex abuse must contribute meaningfully to the eradication of sexual abuse in the professionThe physician appealed the Divisional Court decision.
The test for the standard of care in medical negligence cases has remained untouched since the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1995 decision in ter Neuzen v. Korn.
On January 18, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the appeal in Armstrong v. Ward. Their unanimous decision maintains the status quo with respect to the standard of care in medical negligence cases.
Like other professionals, pharmacists have been adjusting to an expanded scope of practice as all health professionals work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We wrote about some of these changes in our previous blog posts.
Last week, the Minister of Health made additional changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act relevant to pharmacy professionals. Now, members of the Ontario College of Pharmacists — including pharmacists, interns, registered pharmacy students, or pharmacy technicians — can administer coronavirus vaccines by injection. These individuals must be certified to administer vaccines and must do so while being engaged by an organization that has an agreement with the Minister governing the administration of the vaccine (e.g., a hospital).