Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 4 2018 - Page 63

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES At the conclusion of the hearing, Dr. Irwin waived his right to an appeal and the Committee administered the reprimand. DR. MELVYN LAWRENCE ISCOVE PRACTICE LOCATION: Toronto AREA OF PRACTICE: Psychiatry HEARING INFORMATION: Allegations Denied; Contested Hearing (Nine Hearing Days) On March 8, 2018, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Iscove committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he engaged in sexual abuse of patients, and in that he engaged in an act or omis- sion relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonorable, or unprofessional. Dr. Iscove has a special interest in the treatment of patients with problems related to homosexuality, to which he applies the theories of Dr. Edmund Bergler. These theories treat homosexuality as a condition dating to infancy, which is amenable to therapy. Al- though Dr. Bergler’s theories and Dr. Iscove’s use of these theories in his practice are controversial, there was no allegation in this case that Dr. Iscove failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession, and the Committee’s findings in this case are not re- lated to any views that the members of the Commit- tee may have with respect to Dr. Bergler’s teachings. PATIENT A Patient A first became a patient of Dr. Iscove when he was in his early twenties and continued to see Dr. Iscove as a patient for about 18 years. He was referred to Dr. Iscove by a psychologist to whom he had presented with depression and anxiety associated with fears that he was gay. From the outset of treat- ment, he was introduced by Dr. Iscove to the con- cepts of Dr. Edmund Bergler. Patient A understood that homosexuality, according to Dr. Bergler, was a clinically curable condition through psychoanalytic treatment, with excellent chances of cure. At almost every appointment, there were discussions about Patient A’s dreams and fantasies, including any fantasies that he might have had about Dr. Iscove. Even if Patient A did not spontaneously refer to fan- tasies about Dr. Iscove, Dr. Iscove would ask directly about fantasies specifically involving Dr. Iscove. On a date between the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002, Dr. Iscove offered Patient A a hug at the end of an appointment. Patient A accepted and they embraced. The sexual activity progressed to Dr. Iscove removing his penis from his trousers, then Patient A doing the same. This progressed on later occasions to mutual mas- turbation and oral sex. Patient A estimated that such activity occurred on between 10 and 20 occasions with oral sex occurring on one-third of the episodes. A number of interactions between Patient A and Dr. Iscove extended beyond the conventional physi- cian-patient psycho-therapeutic relationship. The Committee found that Dr. Iscove engaged in conduct that would reasonably be regarded by mem- bers of the profession as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional in that he: - tried to sell Patient A personal items; - invited Patient A to attend the opera as his guest; - arranged for him to rent the Bergler Foundation’s apartment in another city. PATIENT B Patient B became a patient of Dr. Iscove in his late teenage years and saw Dr. Iscove as a patient for over 20 years. His parents had recommended that he see Dr. Iscove for his feelings of depression and anxiety. Patient B denied having any concerns about his own sexuality before seeing Dr. Iscove. Throughout his therapy with Dr. Iscove, Patient B was encouraged to read material by Dr. Bergler and was aware that this was the basis for his treatment by Dr. Iscove. According to Patient B, Dr. Iscove raised the issue of Patient B’s feelings about homosexuality at every appointment, even though he did not think of himself as gay and had no physical relationships with other men. Dr. Iscove would ask at almost every appointment whether Patient B was having fantasies about Dr. Iscove himself. Patient B replied that he did have fantasies ISSUE 4, 2018 DIALOGUE 63