Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 3 2017 - Page 50

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES DR. DOUGLAS EARL BROOKS PRACTICE LOCATION: Sault Ste Marie AREA OF PRACTICE: General Practice HEARING INFORMATION: Agreed Statement of Facts, Admission, Joint submission on Penalty On July 4, 2016, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Brooks committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he has engaged in conduct or an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. Dr. Brooks, a general practitioner in Sault Ste Ma- rie, also works as an investigating coroner. He main- tains a family practice at the Group Health Centre and hospital privileges at the Sault Area Hospital. Patients A and B had a close personal connection to Dr. Brooks and his wife. The family physicians of Patients A and B practised at the Group Health Centre, which maintained patient medical records in an electronic medical records system. Patients A and B also had medical records from hospital visits that were maintained in the Hospital’s electronic medical records system. Patient A, who suffered from mental health and ad- dictions issues, died by suicide in 2014. Dr. Brooks was the investigating coroner on call at the time of Patient A’s death and attended at the scene. Due to his connection to Patient A, arrangements were made to have the case transferred to another coroner. Dr. Brooks accordingly did not act as the coroner in the investigation of Patient A’s death. After Patient A’s death, her relatives, concerned about potential unauthorized access to their records by Dr. Brooks, requested audit reports of access to Patient A and Patient B’s electronic medical records from both the Group Health Centre and the Hospital. Privacy Breaches Dr. Brooks accessed Patient A’s electronic medical re- cords from the Group Health Centre on six dates be- tween September 2005 and March 2014. Dr. Brooks accessed Patient A’s electronic medical records from 50 DIALOGUE ISSUE 3, 2017 the Hospital on eight dates between August 2011 and August 2014. Multiple records were accessed on each of the above dates. Dr. Brooks accessed Patient B’s electronic medi- cal records from the Group Health Centre on eight dates between April 2003 and October 2006. Mul- tiple records were accessed on each of these dates. Dr. Brooks’ access to the electronic records was unauthorized because he did not have the consent of Patient A and Patient B to access their respective medical records. Further, there was no medical reason for Dr. Brooks to access the records. The medical records that were accessed by Dr. Brooks included information related to general family medicine care, as well as highly personal information of a very sensi- tive nature, namely information related to psychiatric care, addictions-related issues and obstetrical care. In 2006, after a period of estrangement, during the first trimester of Patient B’s Yۘ[K]Y[[]X]Y۝X]&HYKH][\]Xۘ[X][ۈ\[X\ٝ[ X\]Y[\˜۝X X\Y]Y[&\[XۚX›YYX[Xܙ]Hܛ\X[[H^[Y\™\[H[XZ[\و\Yۘ[K[ LK]Y[H\YZ]YHY[[X[[]Y[[]]H][ \[\[YKX\Y]Y[x&\Xܙ[[Z[Hݙ\H\[و][^\]Y][ۘ[XB\\[HYZY\\\\K[ M ]Y[H\Y[[Y\[XB\ܚ\\\K]Y[x&\]\\ܝ][H\Y]Y[HY\H\[][H[[ ]Y[H\]Y\Y]HYZ]&HYHYY]]\]Y[x&\]\[&HYK\]Y\[[\YH[[H[[[[YYYYܝ[]Y[K]][YKH[\Y&HYHYB[YY]]]Y[HH^^K]\]^K&HYH\\Y\]˂H^\Yۘ\\]]\YH›YY]]Y[H\HH\][ˈ&HYB[[Y]Y[x&\]\[H][[[[H]H[HXHYY]]Y[BH^^K][YH][[X\Y]Y[x&\YYX[Xܙˈ[\YBY\\۝X]]Y[HH\[ܝ\