Dialogue Volume 15, Issue 3 2019 - Page 66

DISCIPLINE SUMMARIES At the time of the return of the matter to ICRC, none of the elements of the SCERP had been more than partially completed. This resulted in ICRC re- ferring the matter to the Discipline Committee. The Committee recognizes that following the ICRC’s referral, Dr. Thomas has made some efforts to comply with the April 2017 SCERP. He is scheduled to complete all elements by June 2020. Despite this progress, the Committee is troubled by Dr. Thomas’ lack of responsiveness to the College as his govern- ing body. Dr. Thomas showed a lack respect for the College’s regulatory role. This type of misconduct compromises the College’s ability to promote and maintain public trust in the profession. Dr. Thomas should have understood that strict compliance by physicians with orders made by any College commit- tee is of utmost importance, and not doing so is a serious act of misconduct. ORDER The Discipline Committee ordered: a reprimand; a one-month suspension of Dr. Thomas’ certificate of registration; and imposed terms, conditions and limitations on Dr. Thomas’ certificate of registration. The Committee also ordered Dr. Thomas to pay hear- ing costs to the College in the amount of $6,000. The terms, conditions and limitations included a nine-month period of clinical supervision; a reassess- ment and monitoring of his practice. For complete details of the Order, please see the full decision at www.cpso.on.ca. Select Find a Doctor and enter the doctor’s name. 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- 66 DIALOGUE ISSUE 3, 2019 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. Mitigating 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.