Dialogue Volume 15 Issue 1 2019 - Page 45

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES a member’s certificate of registration, and in that he has engaged in conduct unbecoming a physician. Dr. Allendes received his certificate of registration authorizing postgraduate education from the Col- lege on July 1, 2010, at which time he commenced his residency in Emergency Medicine at McMaster University. Dr. Allendes' certificate of registration expired on June 30, 2014 in his fourth year of his postgraduate program. He did not complete his resi- dency training. The Discipline Committee found that Dr. Allen- des breached a term, condition, or limitation on his certificate of registration and engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional conduct when, during his postgraduate studies, he prescribed medi- cations including Lorazepam and sleeping pills to his intimate partner, Mr. X, who would then fill the pre- scriptions and give Dr. Allendes the medication. Dr. Allendes also directed Mr. X to fill out prescriptions in Dr. Allendes’ name so that Dr. Allendes could later deny having written them, as well as to write prescriptions for Lorazepam in the name of Dr. Y, a colleague of Dr. Allendes. Dr. Allendes authorized the prescriptions in breach of his terms, conditions, and limitations which permitted him to prescribe only as required for his postgraduate education or his supervised practice in the Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Allendes also breached his terms, conditions, and limitations by prescribing to Dr. Y. In March 2014, Dr. Allendes placed a 911 call while waiting to get into a nightclub, alleging that a person was having a medical emergency. Dr. Allendes 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 physician. In law, the Discipline Committee must accept a joint submission on penalty unless it would be contrary to the public interest and bring the adminis- tration of justice into disrepute. Contested Hearing The physician denies the allegations. The College must prove the allegations 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. Mitigating and aggravating circumstances are con- sidered by the Committee, so that the penalty imposed is proportionate to the gravity of the physician’s conduct, and the degree of responsibility of the physician. Mitigating circumstances 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 physi- cian’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 include: 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 1, 2019 DIALOGUE 45