HPRB – Requirements for showing an incomplete investigation

Where an applicant to the Health Professions Review Board alleges an investigation into his complaint was incomplete, the applicant must specify what particular matters he says were not explored, and show they were not, in fact, explored by the Inquiry Committee. The failure of an applicant to prove an alleged inadequacy in an investigation resulted in a finding of an adequate investigation in Complainant v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. and Registrants 1 through 4, Decision Nos. 2010-HPA-0008(a); 2010-HPA-0009(a); 2010-HPA-0010(a); 2010-HPA-0011(a).

In that case, a complainant involved in a motor vehicle accident filed complaints against four registrants, all of whom had assessed the complainant after his accident and provided medicolegal reports of their findings, three at the request of ICBC and one at the request of the complainant’s legal counsel. He alleged that Registrant 1 failed to account for a particular injury caused by the accident (Tarlov cysts), and also complained about Registrant 2, being an author of two reports, without asserting particulars of wrongdoing. After the College investigated and dismissed the complaints, the complainant asserted the Inquiry Committee had failed to review relevant physiotherapy records, and he filed further complaints against Registrant 3, whom he alleged indicated surgical intervention would worsen the cysts, and Registrant 4, for failing to include in her report the fact the complainant told his physiotherapist of back pain.

The complainant applied for review for an inadequate investigation and an unreasonable disposition. The College sought to have the application summarily dismissed for lack of any reasonable prospect of success. The HPRB declined to summarily dismiss, noting that the complainant’s allegation of an inadequate investigation was “not unreasonable given that he would have an intimate knowledge of the circumstances.” The HPRB went on, however, to dismiss the application for review.

ADEQUATE INVESTIGATION: The complainant only alleged two instances of the Inquiry Committee failing to consider information. Concerning the alleged failure of the committee to consider a report by a particular doctor, the record disclosed an extensive report and no evidence established any second report by that doctor not provided to the College. Concerning a physiotherapy report that Registrant 4 allegedly failed to include in her own report, the record indicated that the Inquiry Committee obtained and reviewed physiotherapy notes.

REASONABLE OUTCOME: The complainant sought relief from the HPRB in the form of ICBC coverage for his injury (the Tarlov cysts), but that remedy was not available under the HPA.

Complainant v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. and Registrants 1 through 4, Decision Nos. 2010-HPA-0008(a); 2010-HPA-0009(a); 2010-HPA-0010(a); 2010-HPA-0011(a)