Home Featured Toronto doctor who invited patient to Beatles tribute concert suspended for professional misconduct

Toronto doctor who invited patient to Beatles tribute concert suspended for professional misconduct

by HR Law Canada

A Toronto-based physician, RS, has been suspended for six months following a disciplinary hearing by the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal.

The Tribunal found that RS engaged in “disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct” by crossing professional boundaries with a patient and interfering in the College’s investigation.

RS, who has been a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons for over 40 years and specialized in internal medicine and immunology, had no prior disciplinary record with the College.

Long-term patient relationship crossed lines

The investigation began after a mandatory report from a physician about RS was filed with the College in December 2019. The patient, referred to as Patient A, had been under RS’ care for about 30 years. In late 2019, RS breached physician-patient boundaries, both verbally and physically, according to the Tribunal.

On Oct. 26, 2019, RS called Patient A from his personal cell phone to invite her to a Beatles tribute concert in Oakville, Ont. Despite her discomfort, Patient A agreed, citing her long-standing relationship and respect for RS as reasons. During an appointment, RS embraced Patient A in a manner that made her uncomfortable, and later, while at the concert, grabbed her thigh.

These actions led to the termination of a 30-year physician-patient relationship, profoundly upsetting Patient A.

Attempts to interfere in investigation

Further complicating the case, the Tribunal also found that RS tried to bully an acquaintance, referred to as Ms. X, into providing a false alibi during the College’s investigation.

Ms. X, who had known RS socially for three years, reported that the physician approached her and asked her to sign a letter confirming she was with him on the evening of Dec. 2, 2019 — the night of the concert with Patient A. She refused and reported feeling bullied and stressed by the request.

Tribunal’s ruling

The Tribunal imposed a six-month suspension effective Aug. 21, 2023, and ordered RS to complete a recognized program on ethics and boundaries. RS was also reprimanded and is required to pay costs to the College in the amount of $6,000.

The penalty fell within a “reasonable range” of prior similar cases, the Tribunal stated, adding that it meets objectives of both specific and general deterrence and contributes to public protection.

The Tribunal acknowledged that RS had no prior disciplinary history, cooperated with the College, and entered a plea of no contest. His actions spared both Patient A and Ms. X from having to relive their experiences by attending as witnesses.

For more information, see College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario v. Stein, 2023 ONPSDT 21 (CanLII)

You may also like

About Us

HR Law Canada is dedicated to covering labour and employment news for lawyers, HR professionals and employers. Published by North Wall Media.