Friday, February 5, 2010

Zero Tolerance - Sex With Patients

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 26:  Italian designer...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The College of Chiropractors of Ontario (the equivocate of a state board of chiropractic examiners) suspended the license of a chiropractor for 5 years for professional misconduct.  The doctor in question, treated his girl friend and then marked her bills paid.  She submitted them to insurance and would give him the funds.  After they broke up he tried to collect the balance of her account and then referred her account to a collection agency.  She didn't complain about his having had a sexual relationship with her, she complained about his billing practices.  Nevertheless there is a zero tolerance policy for having sex with patients and the College
The college's decision was based upon one salient fact, the doctor was having sex with a patient.  The nature of their relationship was immaterial. 
The issue which I've stressed in my classes on ethics and risk management as well as my ethics column that any relationship founded upon an imbalance of power is not consensual.  In the doctor-patient relationship the doctor has the professional knowledge and knowledge is power.  Thus there is a professional boundary between the patient and the doctor that can never go beyond that relationship.
For more details see the article in the Globe and Mail:  Giving care to his girlfriend puts chiropractor in hot water or on CTV Waterloo chiropractor loses his license
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Now if we can just have a zero tolerance for vaccine rejectionism.

    Keep of the good work, Doc!

  2. Ken,

    That is a good point. The CCO also has a policy that vaccination is outside the scope of practice for a chiropractor in Ontario and thus shouldn't be discussed.