Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 3 2017 - Page 57

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES DR. ANTHONY RICHARD ELDON LAWS PRACTICE LOCATION: Hamilton AREA OF PRACTICE: General Practice HEARING INFORMATION: Agreed Statement of Facts, Plea of No Contest, Joint Submission on Penalty On July 14, 2016, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Laws committed acts of professional miscon- duct, in that he engaged in sexual abuse of a patient; failed to maintain the standard of practice of the pro- fession; and engaged in conduct or an act or omis- sion 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. Laws was a general practitioner with a prac- tice in Hamilton until his certificate of registration expired in April 2015 when he resigned. He focused on treating patients with attention deficit disorder (ADD). Patient A Patient A, then in his mid-30s, was Dr. Laws’ private practice patient from about March 2012 to June 2014. Dr. Laws treated Patient A for ADD and pre- scribed him stimulant medications. Dr. Laws, on several occasions, invited Patient A to Dr. Laws’ home office. Patient A and Dr. Laws did not spend any time in his home office; rather, Patient A would go to Dr. Laws’ house and “hang out,” drink alcohol and use Dr. Laws’ hot tub with Dr. Laws. On one of these occasions at Dr. Laws’ home, Dr. Laws kissed Patient A. On another occasion at Dr. Laws’ home, Dr. Laws gave a massage to Patient A while they were both naked. During the massage, Dr. Laws put Patient A’s penis in his mouth. Patient A slept at Dr. Laws’ house two or three times because he had been drinking alcohol and did not want to drive home. Patient A told the College that “there isn’t really a clear boundary between friend and doctor and it’s always been kind of frustrating to me.” Patient A and Dr. Laws also exchanged numerous emails about both social and medical issues while their doctor-patient relationship existed. On one occasion at Dr. Laws’ house, during the time that Dr. Laws was prescribing stimulant medica- tion to Patient A, Dr. Laws provided Patient A with a marijuana cookie, which Patient A ate. Patient A then experienced psychotic symptoms and ultimately was admitted to the Emergency Department of the local hospital. The College retained a psychiatrist to provide his opinion on the care and treatment Dr. Laws provided to Patient A. This expert opined that Dr. Laws fell short of the standard of practice of the profession in his use of excessive doses of stimulants for ADD with poor d ocumentation, with no logical clinical reason- ing about the evolution of treatment of Patient A, and without appropriate monitoring or careful follow up. His decision to give this patient an illicit street drug is also reprehensible and immoral and put a patient with mental illness already on medications, at risk of destabilization – all of this falling short of the standards of the profession. Patient B Patient B, then in his early 30s, was Dr. Laws’ private practice patient from about May 2003 to at least August 2010. Dr. Laws treated Patient B for ADD. In 2004, Patient B became Dr. Laws’ tenant in 2004, while they had a doctor-patient relationship. Patient B rented a room in Dr. Laws’ house for $450/ month and Patient B would assist in the yard and house maintenance as required. This arrangement lasted for several years. While Patient B was his patient and tenant, Dr. Laws completed a medical document regarding Patient B’s ability to partici- pate in employment-related activities, in support of Patient B’s receipt of social assistance. While Patient B was his patient and tenant, Dr. Laws and Patient B also opened a joint bank account. Patient B’s social assistance payments were depos- ited directly into their joint account. Dr. Laws also prescribed narcotics to Patient B during their doctor- patient and landlord-tenant relationships. Although Dr. Laws told the College that Patient B ceased being his tenant in 2009 or 2010, when the Col- lege investigation was brought to his attention, he did hire Patient B to work on his property at later dates. ISSUE 3, 2017 DIALOGUE 57