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Dr. Gaylord Wardell guilty of unprofessional conduct on portion of charges
Dr. Gaylord Wardell, an anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist from Medicine Hat, was found guilty by a CPSA Hearing Tribunal on a portion of one charge of unprofessional conduct.
Dr. Wardell was accused of failing to comply with three of CPSA’s Standards of Practice. The charges pertaining to the Referral Consultation and Telemedicine (now Virtual Care) standards were found to have not been proven and dismissed. However, the Tribunal agreed Dr. Wardell was not fully compliant with the Cannabis for Medical Purposes standard, and that a portion of the charge relating to that standard was proven and amounted to unprofessional conduct.
The tribunal will reconvene at a later date to consider submissions on sanction.
Dr. Altaf Khumree sanctioned for personal relationship with patient and inappropriate prescribing
Dr. Altaf Khumree, a general practitioner from Strathmore, was sanctioned for three counts of unprofessional conduct by a CPSA Hearing Tribunal, for entering into a sexual relationship with a patient, failing to disclose the relationship to CPSA and inappropriately prescribing himself medication on several occasions.
After the Tribunal’s guilty findings in May 2020, the hearing was adjourned to allow Dr. Khumree to undergo an assessment that would inform the Tribunal’s determination of sanction.
The Tribunal reconvened in June 2021 to consider the assessment report and submissions from both parties. The Tribunal issued its written decision in March 2022 and ordered several sanctions, including the following:
- Khumree is suspended from practice for six months, with three months to be served and the rest held in abeyance pending compliance with the Tribunal’s remaining orders.
- Within one year of the decision, Dr. Khumree must complete education on both the interactions of race, culture, medical practice and trauma-informed care, and the impact of personality types on effective interpersonal communications.
- Khumree is fined $5,000 and is also responsible for 50 per cent of the investigation and hearing costs (final amount still to be determined).
The Tribunal’s decision and sanctions can be reviewed in full on CPSA’s website.
A physician’s conduct is assessed against the standards that were in existence at the time of an incident—the conduct in this situation occurred prior to April 1, 2019 and the implementation of An Act to Protect Patients, and so was assessed against previous standards of practice.
It is critical for all healthcare practitioners to maintain professional boundaries with patients due to the inherent power imbalance. A sexual relationship with a patient is a breach of CPSA’s standard on sexual boundary violations and if such a breach were to take place after April 1, 2019, it would meet the definition of sexual abuse under the Health Professions Act and lead to cancellation of the physician’s practice permit.
Dr. Peter Idahosa sanctioned for inappropriate prescribing
Dr. Peter Idahosa, a general practitioner from Calgary, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by a CPSA Hearing Tribunal for prescribing himself medication.
Dr. Idahosa admitted to writing himself prescriptions for several medications in the names of his colleagues, without their knowledge or consent. The Tribunal accepted Dr. Idahosa’s admission of unprofessional conduct and suspended Dr. Idahosa’s practice permit for six months (with four months to be served and two held in abeyance pending fulfillment of the Tribunal’s remaining orders). Dr. Idahosa must also undergo a multi-disciplinary assessment at his own expense to address the factors which led to the unprofessional conduct, implement any practice conditions recommended from the assessment, and is responsible for the full costs of the investigation and hearing (final amount still to be determined).
The Tribunal’s full written decision can be reviewed on CPSA’s website.
Under the Code of Ethics and Professionalism, a physician should not treat themselves unless it’s an emergency situation and only if another physician is not readily available—this includes self-prescribing medication.
Physicians have healthcare needs and should seek the care they require from a professional, just as a patient would be advised to do. Physicians experiencing health concerns can access counselling from the Alberta Medical Association’s Physician and Family Support Program (PFSP), or reach out to CPSA’s Physician Health Monitoring Program for resources and confidential support.