Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 3 2017 - Page 67

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES that he performed a pelvic examination at Patient A ’ s last visit , and that she mistook a speculum or a gloved finger for Dr . Ruggiero ’ s penis . Dr . Ruggiero was not standing in the position he stood in to perform pelvic examinations , but instead at the foot of the examination table . Patient A also testified that she was aware of what pelvic examinations and digital examinations feel like , and this was different . The Committee found that when Dr . Ruggiero asked Patient A to undress from the waist down and lie down on the examination table , it was not his intention to perform a medically-indicated pelvic examination . Rather , his true intent was to take advantage and exploit a vulnerable patient by inserting his penis into her vagina for self-gratification . The Committee found that Patient A raised her head to see what was going on during the appointment , and saw Dr . Ruggiero ’ s pants unzipped and his penis with a condom on it going in and out of her vagina , while hearing him moaning . The Committee found that Dr . Ruggiero perceived Patient A in a sexualized manner . It noted that Dr . Ruggiero spontaneously described Patient A to a College investigator as having been dressed “ very , very seductively ” the day of the assault . Dr . Ruggiero also testified that Patient A was not a virgin when he saw her . The Committee found that Dr . Ruggiero was being deceptive when he provided College investigators , the Committee , and Patient A ’ s mother with various explanations for why he would have performed a pelvic examination . These explanations did not have a factual basis and were merely attempts to provide a legitimate explanation for why he would have asked Patient A to undress from the waist down and lie on the examination table for a purported pelvic examination . The Committee disagreed with Dr . Ruggiero ’ s position that it would be difficult to carry out an act of sexual assault during office hours in Dr . Ruggiero ’ s office at the time . It also rejected Dr . Ruggiero ’ s position that it would be physically impossible for Dr . Ruggiero to have inserted his penis into the patient ’ s vagina .
REASONS FOR PENALTY Counsel for the College submitted that the suitable penalty was the revocation of Dr . Ruggiero ’ s certificate of registration , a public reprimand and costs in the amount of $ 25,000 based upon five hearing days at a tariff rate of $ 5,000 per day . Counsel for Dr . Ruggiero did not contest the proposed penalty because she agreed that revocation was the appropriate penalty for the serious act of sexual impropriety found by the Committee to have occurred . The sexual misconduct in this case occurred approximately 30 years ago . As the Health Disciplines Act , 1980 is the applicable legislation in this case , the Committee used the term in that legislation ,“ sexual impropriety ,” in describing Dr . Ruggiero ’ s sexual misconduct . In doing so , the Committee noted it did not in any way wish to understate the very serious nature of Dr . Ruggiero ’ s misconduct . The sanctions of revocation of Dr . Ruggiero ’ s certificate of registration and a reprimand were available to the Committee under the provisions of the Health Disciplines Act , 1980 . Counsel for Dr . Ruggiero did not contest the availability of costs since costs are a procedural matter and costs laws apply retrospectively . The Committee ordered revocation of Dr . Ruggiero ’ s certificate of registration . The Committee also ordered that Dr . Ruggiero appear before this Committee to be reprimanded and to pay costs of $ 25,000 . The Committee noted that the principles relevant to imposing a penalty in a discipline proceeding are well established . The protection of the public is the paramount consideration . Others principles include : maintenance of public confidence in the reputation and integrity of the profession and in the College ’ s ability to regulate the profession in the public interest ; general deterrence as it applies to the profession as a whole ; specific deterrence as it applies to the member ; and , where appropriate , the potential for rehabilitation of the member . In arriving at its decision regarding penalty , the Committee must weigh these principles in light of the specific facts and circumstances of each case . Aggravating and mitigating factors , if any , must be also considered . Trust is a fundamental tenet of the physicianpatient relationship . Physicians are granted trust and power by virtue of their professional status , and this
Full decisions are available online at www . cpso . on . ca . Select Doctor Search and enter the doctor ’ s name .
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