Calgary Surgeon Accepts Responsibility For Error
Calgary plastic surgeon Dr. Alan N. Lin admitted to unprofessional conduct for failing to properly supervise a surgical resident and was sanctioned by a CPSA hearing tribunal.
In 2017, Dr. Lin was the attending surgeon supervising a third-year resident in the removal of a patient’s trapezium. During the surgery, the patient’s scaphoid was removed in error. Upon learning of the error after the surgery, Dr. Lin met with the patient to explain what happened and accepted full responsibility for the outcome.
The hearing tribunal accepted Dr. Lin’s admission of unprofessional conduct and ordered that he receive a caution and be responsible for paying 75 per cent of the hearing and investigation costs.
The error that occurred in this case was significant and does not meet the standard of care expected from physicians. That said, this is the first complaint Dr. Lin has received in over 20 years of practice. Dr. Lin also accepted full responsibility for his error by admitting fault to both CPSA and the patient (thus avoiding a lengthier and more costly hearing process), and took steps to ensure this error is not repeated in the future. As such, the tribunal felt a caution was an appropriate sanction.
Urologist Unsuccessfully Appeals Disciplinary Decision
After he was found guilty of and sanctioned for unprofessional conduct, Dr. Richard Barr, a Urologist from Calgary, appealed the decision to a CPSA Council Review Panel, who upheld the original decision.
In 2019, Dr. Barr was found guilty by a CPSA Hearing Tribunal of failing on several occasions to respond to communications from CPSA. This breached a Terms of Resolution Agreement (TORA) Dr. Barr entered into with CPSA in 2014, in which he agreed to promptly respond to all correspondence. At the time, the Hearing Tribunal ordered the following sanctions:
- Dr. Barr received a reprimand.
- Dr. Barr’s practice permit was suspended for 30 days.
- Dr. Barr was responsible for the full costs of the investigation and hearing, totalling $24,064.04.
Dr. Barr appealed both the finding of unprofessional conduct and the sanctions, alleging that mitigating factors prevented him to responding to communications from CPSA (amongst other grounds). After reviewing all the evidence, the Review Panel upheld the Hearing Tribunal’s decision, with one variance to the sanction on suspension:
– If, within 90 days of the appeal decision, Dr. Barr provides CPSA’s Complaints Director with proof of having a completed a course on both email management and communication for physicians, his 30-day suspension will be deemed to have been served.
In upholding the original decision, the Review Panel confirmed that physicians have a duty to cooperate and communicate with their regulator. Failing to do so undermines the medical profession’s ability to self-regulate, which in turn can impact the trust placed in regulators such as CPSA by the public.
*Due to an internal error, publication of this decision in Messenger was unintentionally delayed.