Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 3 2018 - Page 29

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES was with Patient A at the time of her injury, attended at the hospital with her. Patient A was provided with a hospital gown and removed her pants, so that her injury could be assessed by Dr. Baird. When Patient A asked Dr. Baird when she would be able to stand on the leg, Dr. Baird responded that she could stand on the leg at whatever point she was able to handle the pain. Patient A then asked Dr. Baird when she would be able to ride her motorcycle. Dr. Baird looked at Mr. X and stated words to the effect of: “he looks like a motorcycle, you could ride him.” Patient A was shocked and offended by this com- ment, which she perceived as sexual harassment. She promptly complained to the hospital. When Dr. Baird was advised of the complaint, he expressed regret for his actions and remorse that the patient had been emotionally injured by the encoun- ter. Dr. Baird agreed to write a letter of apology to the patient, including an assurance to the patient that as a result of this interaction being brought for- ward, he would change his behaviour. The letter of apology was not sent to Patient A. Instead, the hospital attempted to arrange a meeting between Patient A and Dr. Baird. However, Patient A rejected the invitation to meet with Dr. Baird. Nurse A During an evening shift on April 29, 2012, Dr. Baird was the attending emergency room doctor. Nurse A was standing at the nursing station togeth- er with her co-workers when Dr. Baird was speaking What does this mean? We provide definitions for the legal terminology used in the discipline process Admission The physician admits that the facts alleged amount to professional mis- conduct and/or incompetence. Plea of No Contest The physician does not contest the facts. The College files a statement of facts as an exhibit at the hearing. The Discipline Committee can accept the facts as correct and make a finding of professional misconduct and/or incompetence. The physician does not admit to the facts or findings for the purpose of any other proceeding. Agreed Statement of Facts A statement of facts that are negoti- ated and agreed to by the College and the physician. It is filed as an exhibit at the hearing. Joint Submission on Penalty A penalty that is proposed to the Committee as an appropriate penalty by both the College and the physi- cian. In law, the Discipline Committee must accept a joint submission on penalty unless it would be contrary to the public interest and bring the ad- ministration of justice into disrepute. Contested Hearing The physician denies the allegations. The College must prove the allega- tions on a balance of probabilities (the civil standard of proof) by calling evidence such as witnesses. If one or more of the allegations is proved, a penalty hearing is scheduled. The College and the physician may agree and jointly propose a penalty to the Committee or they may disagree and a contested penalty hearing takes place. Aggravating, Mitigating Circumstances Aggravating and mitigating circum- stances may be considered by the Discipline Committee in determining an appropriate penalty. Miti gating and aggravating circumstances are considered by the Committee, so that the penalty imposed is proportionate to the gravity of the physician’s con- duct, and the degree of responsibility of the physician. Mitigating circum- stances tend to reduce penalties, whereas aggravating circumstances tend to increase penalties. Aggravating circumstances could include: a high degree of vulnerability of the person(s) affected by the phy- sician’s conduct; a prior disciplinary history with the College; and a lack of insight by the physician into his or her own misconduct. Mitigating circumstances could in- clude: a clean disciplinary record; an admission to the facts underlying the allegations in advance of a hearing; cooperating with the investigation; a demonstration of remorse or regret about the effects of the misconduct on others; taking remedial steps on the physician’s own initiative prior to a finding or an order by the College. ISSUE 3, 2018 DIALOGUE 29