Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 4 2018 - Page 57

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES DR. CHRISTOPHER STEPHEN DOYLE PRACTICE LOCATION: Mississauga AREA OF PRACTICE: Psychiatrist HEARING INFORMATION: Admission; Agreed Statement of Facts; Contested Penalty On February 1, 2018, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Doyle committed an act of profes- sional misconduct, in that he failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession, and in that he has engaged in conduct or an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as unprofessional. The Committee also found that Dr. Doyle is incompetent. Dr. Doyle is a psychiatrist who received his indepen- dent practice certificate with the College in 2001. Dur- ing the relevant period, Dr. Doyle worked at a hospital and maintained a private practice in Mississauga. PATIENT A Patient A was referred to Dr. Doyle by her family physician, Dr. X, in 2013. Together with his referring letter, Dr. X provided Dr. Doyle with approximately 25 pages of medical records for Patient A. Within the records provided to Dr. Doyle are two pages contain- ing reference to Patient A’s previous sexual boundary issues with a mental health professional while under the professional’s care, and reference to Patient A having developed an infatuation with a prior treating psychiatrist. Dr. Doyle was Patient A’s psychiatrist between Octo- ber 2013 and July 2014, during which time he focused on Patient A’s medications. By December of 2013, Dr. Doyle’s diagnosed Patient A as “a borderline woman with increased anger and increased depression.” During the time she was Dr. Doyle’s patient, Patient A perceived that Dr. Doyle’s demeanour towards her changed, in that he became increasingly casual during her appointments, including sitting back with his feet up on the coffee table and using profanities in front of Patient A. He also discussed his interest in cycling with her. Patient A said that she began to feel that Dr. Doyle wanted to foster a friendship or relationship with her. In July 2014, Patient A told Dr. Doyle about her feelings for him. Dr. Doyle indicated that he was flattered but that her feelings were not appropri- ate for the physician-patient relationship. Patient A perceived that Dr. Doyle was extremely uncomfort- able by her disclosure. He stopped the session and asked Patient A to see his secretary to make a subse- quent appointment, while in the past, Dr. Doyle had scheduled all subsequent sessions himself on his cell phone at the end of Patient A’s appointments. Patient A booked a follow-up appointment for August 2014 with Dr. Doyle through the secretary and left the ses- sion feeling confused, ashamed and humiliated. The following day, Patient A sent Dr. Doyle an email apologizing and seeking clarity as to what had transpired in her appointment. Dr. Doyle responded explaining that he could no longer see Patient A and while her feelings are understandable, they are not appropriate for their relationship. Further to the email exchange, which Patient A perceived as notice of termination, Patient A had no contact with Dr. Doyle. She did not attend the subsequent appointment that she had booked with Dr. Doyle. Patient A described the emotional impact of Dr. Doyle’s response to her disclosure and the termina- tion of her care as “devastating.” She went to see her family physician in July 2014, reporting suicidal thoughts and self-blame as a result of this interac- tion with Dr. Doyle. She went to the hospital with a suicide plan several days later and was voluntarily admitted to a hospital for several days. Patient A submitted a complaint to the College in July 2014. Dr. Doyle stated that he waited for Patient A dur- ing her scheduled appointment in August 2014, at which point he planned to properly terminate the patient-physician relationship. Dr. Doyle did not take any action in respect to the transfer of care for Patient A, he did not send a termination letter to Pa- tient A and did not communicate with the referring physician about the end of the therapeutic relation- ship. He did not make arrangements for the prescrip- tion of Patient A’s medications, nor did he assist in finding another psychiatrist for Patient A. ISSUE 4, 2018 DIALOGUE 57