Regulator of Physicians hides details of doctor misconduct

 

We used to trust our doctors. In fact at one time, doctors were so trusted, we gave them the right to regulate themselves through provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons. Our courts defer to their judgment, and assume doctors automatically possess profound knowledge, impeccable skills and unassailable integrity.
 
But, Canadian doctors have squandered the public’s (admittedly naïve) trust. In Canada today, many people fear doctors and the health care system, and with increasingly good reasons.
 
Today, we bring you two chilling stories, one from Ontario and one from British Columbia, that demonstrate how doctors have lost our trust.

College of Physicians and Surgeons keeps secret the details of incompetence

October 22, 2012

An Ontario surgeon found guilty of professional misconduct and incompetence, including causing death, has been allowed to continue to see patients while details of his infractions are kept secret from the public.

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons is resisting revealing the details about the 22 instances of misconduct and incompetence that they confirmed, stating:  “the disciplinary committee’s ‘rules of procedure’ allow for discretion in releasing such documents to the public.”  In plain language, that means they can keep information secret if they so choose.

The Toronto Star reports that the College’s disciplinary committee cited Dr. John Pariag, a Mississauga, Ontario surgeon, for causing the death of one patient, removing healthy body parts from several other patients, performing surgeries for which he had inadequate training, and other dangerous medical treatment and/or practices.

Guilty doctor has say in whether information should be made public

Astonishingly, the medical profession’s privileges to maintain secrecy about misconduct extend to doctors who are found guilty of wrongdoing and harm, including death. In essence, they appear to be allowed to operate outside the Criminal Code of our country. According to the Toronto Star, Dr. John Pariag’s lawyer “get[s] a say on whether such documents are released to the public and if decisions are made without oral hearings.”

What happened to the public’s right to know?  We are warned when there is a convicted predator or dangerous offender loose in our communities. So, why is the College of Physicians and Surgeons permitted, by our government and our law enforcement agencies, to hide the details about someone who might kill or maim me – just because he’s a doctor?

Is this “our” health care system, or is it the medical industry’s system?

READ full story:  Ontario College of Physicians keeps secret details of doctor’s incompetence

B.C. doctor prescribes morphine for person he never met, College of Physicians keeps the offence secret for 3 years

March 31, 2012

“A patient walks into the doctor’s office and says, ‘Doc, I got this sick aunt who’s in pain.’  So, the kindly doctor hands the patient a prescription for morphine to give to someone the doctor has never met, and doesn’t even know exists.”

The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons gave Dr. Brian Arthur White of Nanaimo, B.C. a 3-month suspension and made him pay $1,750 in legal costs. A slap on the wrist, and surely the lowest legal bill known to mankind, or at least to ordinary members of the public.

The College also handed out a one-year ban on prescribing narcotics as part of the doctor’s punishment, but that’s cold comfort. In fact, the ban has little or no practical effect, given that the discipline dates back to February 2009 but was not made public until March 2012, when the horse had long since bolted from the barn.

According to the Nanaimo Daily News, the College accepted Dr. White’s explanation that the patient gave him a “compelling story” about a relative who was in pain and needed the drug but wasn’t able to visit a doctor for some reason.

This may sound like a bad joke, but it is a deadly serious recipe for potentially fatal results. Morphine is a powerful narcotic, sought by addicts through bogus prescriptions, and increasingly implicated in suspicious seniors’ deaths as the key element in the controversial Liverpool Pathway used by health care providers to hasten death. In addition, it is well known that there are so-called rogue doctors who defy the rules and the law to shovel prescription drugs (narcotics, Oxycontin) onto the black market. Prescription drug abuse is now the fastest-growing form of drug addiction, especially among young people, according to studies recently published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. Since about 2003, more 12 to 17 year olds trying illicit drugs for the first time are experimenting with prescription opioids rather than marijuana, which used to be the “gateway” drug of choice.

Apparently the B.C. College wasn’t bothered by the fact that this veteran doctor also neglected to make any record of the prescription, something taught in first year med school.

There’s no indication either, whether the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons made any effort to find out who the morphine was actually administered to, or why, or with what effect.

The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons said that doctors prescribing narcotics to patients sight-unseen is “considered rare”, but the College provided no evidence to support their opinion. One wonders if this statement is simply a public relations effort to quell speculation and public concern.

The disciplinary committee of the B.C. College did not see fit to warn the public about this doctor for over three years, but it’s very probable that the patient told all his pals about this “prescription friendly” doctor right away. Our communities are not safer when Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, the self-regulating bodies that oversee doctor conduct, withhold information from the public.

READ full story:  Nanaimo doctor suspended by College of Physicians and Surgeons

As in any sector of humanity, there is good and there is bad. A feature of successfully evolving societies has been their ability for good to drive out bad. Seniors at Risk works with a number of very competent, compassionate and ethical doctors. Their skills, integrity and intentions are not in question. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all members of the medical “profession”.
 
Increasingly under much-needed scrutiny are the integrity and motives of the organizations that purport to oversee the conduct of doctors. If we cannot trust those individuals who have been granted, and accepted, the enormous responsibility of presiding over the conduct of their own profession, and the accountability of their peers, is it any wonder that individual doctors, who have unfettered influence over the care each of us receives (or not), conduct themselves in ways that don’t always serve the best interests of our health?
 
The medical industry’s blatant secrecy, control and intimidation is destroying the medical profession’s reputation. The prevailing Omertà is unsustainable. Unless, and until, the good doctors who exist within the system begin to speak up and demand that their leaders take a more principled approach to the practice of medicine, they will, each and collectively, suffer the consequences of an alarmed and outraged citizenry.
 
It is time for the good doctors to take back their professional reputation from those who sully it.

 

Knowledge. Compassion. Courage. Action.

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1 Comment »

  1. REGULATOR HIDES… I’ll say these guys are secretive! My family tried to get answers from the doctors and nurses about why my Dad had been injured in the old age home. They fought us like crazy. WE still don’t believe that they told us the truth. It’s a crime what they do in the name of medicine.

    Comment by JeremyT — November 29, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

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