April 9, 2017

Discipline: Lying to your governing body and ungovernability

Professional Regulation

A Manitoba court recently cancelled the licence of a physician who made multiple misrepresentations to his college during an investigation, on grounds of ungovernability, in Ahluwalia v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, 2017 MBCA 15.

In the 1990s, when a college investigated a physician after several complaints, the physician rewrote patient medical charts and submitted them on the pretence that they were original charts. The College originally erased his name from the register, but a court replaced that penalty with a suspension, and a requirement that he install software for his patients’ records. In 2013, after a chart audit, the physician wrote in a letter that he had presented the audit report to a peer group for review, which he said concluded no lack of knowledge. [11] He later sent a peer analysis document that was critical of the audit report. He refused, however, to provide the names of the persons who conducted the peer analysis. [13] He only later admitted that “no one was consulted regarding the audit report or the peer analysis and that he was the sole author of the peer analysis.” [14]

The College alleged several counts of professional misconduct and one count of unfitness to practice medicine (which are grounds for discipline under s.59.5 of Manitoba’s Medical Act, C.C.S.M. c. M90). Based on admitted misconduct, and a finding of unfitness, a panel found the physician ungovernable, based on multiple written and oral misrepresentations to the college which indicated he was “prepared to lie to his governing body to avoid its exercise of its regulatory jurisdiction”. [45] The court found that cancellation was reasonable, given various factors including the physicians “multiple misrepresentations intended to mislead the College”. [53]

Ahluwalia v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, 2017 MBCA 15

Lisa C. Fong and Michael Ng