Monday, 12 September 2016

Bad medical doctors in Ontario (part 1)                           

Do any of my readers really know just how many bad doctors there are in the Canadian province of Ontario? No-one knows for sure because some of them have not been discovered yet. It is like having undiscovered cancer in your body. You know that something is wrong but you are not sure what and where it is.           

As a result of improvements in medical education and oversight, most doctors today are well educated and have solid credentials.

It takes years to be a good doctor. There is so much to learn in the practice of medicine both in medical schools and in the practice itself. A really good family doctor will recognize almost all ailments by what he or she sees and listens carefully as to what the patient tells him or her.

As an example of a good doctor, when I suddenly got what looked like bed bug bites on my skin, my doctor immediate said it was hives. He gave me the right medicine for it and days later, the itchy red pimple-like marks on my skin were gone. When I thought I had too much mucus in my lungs which made it difficult for me to breathe, he immediately said I was suffering from congestive heart failure. He was right. Immediate hospital treatment gave me relief. Within an hour, I could breathe properly again.   

And now; I will give you an  example of a bad doctor.  In the mid-1950s, a doctor gave me bad instructions and it almost killed me. I was suffering from a terribly large and painful blister on my left heel as a result of a two-day hike in the mountains. He put salve on it and bandaged it and told me to come back in three days. The next day, my entire left leg turned bright red and the pain was excruciating. I went to another doctor and he immediately placed his hand under my left armpit and said, “You are suffering from blood poisoning. I want you in the hospital, NOW.”

Blood poisoning can be fatal if not treated as soon as possible. It can be caused by bacteria or a virus. One or the other caused the blood poisoning in my system. How did the second doctor know I was suffering from blood poisoning as a direct result of the blister? He placed his fingers under my left armpit and felt the swollen lymph nodes which was a sign of possible blood poisoning. That procedure was something the other doctor should have done before sending me home. If I hadn’t gone to the second doctor, I wouldn’t have been able to see the first one on the third day as I would have been dead. 

That first doctor’s stupidity could have had an effect on the lives of millions of children world-wide from 1985 and onwards. I am the precursor of the United Nations’ bill of rights for young offenders that has an effect on the lives of millions of young offenders around the world. If I died as a result of that first doctor’s blunder, it is conceivable that that bill of rights may not have come to these children until many years later.

Here are some signs of a bad doctor

In some old movies, bad doctors were easy to identify.  They worked out of seedy offices and have a furtive, unkempt look. In real life, it's not so obvious. Some bad doctors have good looking offices and they look and sound like real professionals. The differences between good and bad doctors are more subtle, more personal, harder to detect but just as critical for your wellbeing

Surprisingly, despite the frequency of avoidable errors, very few wind up as defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits. Only a tiny percentage of malpractice cases result in doctors’ hospital privileges being curtailed. 

Most allegations are because of improper treatment, prescribing improper treatment or medicine, sexual misconduct and fraud. And even if a victim wins a medical malpractice lawsuit, awards are generally modest although there have been exceptions.

I encourage you to trust your instincts. Go with your gut reaction. If you don't feel good about a physician, go somewhere else. Also, remember that your best friend's doctor may not be right for you or your family even though the doctor is a good doctor. However, once you find a good doctor, stick with him or her like plaster on a wall.

You're looking for medical care, not a new friend so it follows that a sparkling personality certainly isn't necessarily a priority when choosing a doctor. However, it certainly is wise to steer clear of one who is consistently cold and patronizing or has no memory of you from one visit to the next. Those are obvious signs of his or her indifference to your medical welfare.  

Although having a prestigious medical degree, fancy address or marketing campaign impresses you, these entities may conceal the fact that the physician you have chosen is a lackluster practitioner who is careless in his practice and his expected knowledge in medicine is lacking much of what he or she was taught in medical school.

When it comes to your child's doctor, pay attention to how he or she interacts with your child and you as a parent. A visit to the doctor can be a frightening experience to a child and a caring pediatrician or family doctor will take the time to make your little one feel comfortable.

A children’s doctor my wife and went to was so rude to me and my wife; we took our children out of his office and went to another. Rudeness to a parent of a child will make a child feel uneasy. 

Look for a doctor who reaches down to your child's level of understanding to explain to your child as to what's happening to him or her and why, and in doing so, expresses genuine warmth and interest. No matter how experienced or highly recommended your child's doctor is, if he or she dismisses your child's fears or spends most of the visit talking to you and ignoring your child, consider finding someone else. Remember that your child must also feel at ease.

Sexual assault is an act of aggression, power, anger and arousal. It is brought about by exerting physical or mental control over someone else. Sexual assault is a traumatic violation of the body, mind and spirit. It profoundly affects a person's health and well-being. Trust, vulnerability and intimacy are seriously impacted when a person is sexually assaulted, especially by someone they have faith in.  

Sexual assault is a crime that is devastating on many levels such as physically, emotionally and psychologically. I know what I am talking about. When I was twelve years of age, I was sexually assaulted by my father and a month later, by a man operating a group home where I had been sent to live in. Don’t ever think that victims of sexual assault can never completely erase the events from their memories. They can’t. It lingers in the brain as an emotional infection.

Examples of bad doctors

Patrick Gallagher, 53, began his family practice in Fenelon Falls in 1984 and previously served in prestigious positions at the Ross Memorial Hospital. 

This man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four of his female adult patients. The sexual assaults occurred between late 2005 and the spring of 2007. The women when testifying in court told of being longtime patients of Dr. Gallagher’s and who had no inkling that their appointments for medical examinations would turn into a horrific experience for each of them.

An intimate search into human cavities is an embarrassing event in anyone’s life but it is even worse, if a doctor does it just for his own sexual gratification.

The Court heard graphic descriptions of the victims lying on the examination table, being in stirrups and covered with a sheet so they wouldn’t see what he was doing to them while the doctor, in each of the cases, violated them by using his fingers and/or his penis.  They were in shock and disbelief at what was happening to them. One victim described her examination as “simulated intercourse.” As to be expected, all of the assaults took place when his assistant was not in the office.

Each of the women went home in shock. Some immediately told their husbands and partners and several went to the hospital for another examination by another doctor and to report what had happened to them. They all later went to the police; hence charges were against the doctor.

He was sentenced to four years in prison. Needless to say, his medical career is permanently finished—and rightly so.

George Doodnaught, 61, was a long-serving anesthetist at the North York General Hospital in Toronto. Previously, he graduated from university in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1974, had worked at North York General Hospital and its affiliate, Branson Hospital, for 28 years.

A surgical environment (operating room) is a very busy place with many other doctors and nurses entering and exiting. It is typical for an anesthetist to assist in several surgeries a day.

It is possible that an anesthetist could be alone with a patient but generally, there are other health professionals in the immediate area of the patient so sexually assaulting them and not being seen doing it is almost if not impossible to do unseen.  He forced the women to perform oral sex and/or masturbate him while they lay helpless on the operating table.

He was a busy little beaver considering that he had 21 convictions of sexual assault on his 21 victims (aged 25 to 75) as they lay on the operating table. I have to presume that they were partially conscious then and alone with the doctor shielded from the other medical staff by being concealed by a surgical drape.  

George Doodnaught was a serial sexual predator. His prey were women who were especially vulnerable and who were recently widowed or extremely nervous about their operations or both. He groomed his victims by speaking to them in a soothing voice before their procedures were underway, reassuring them that they were in good hands. (said the spider to the fly) 

 The trial of Dr. Doodnaught spanned some six months and resulted in 10,000 pages of transcript.  

This disreputable man was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He applied for bail while waiting for his appeal to be heard. Naturally his request was denied.  In my opinion, his crimes were so serious and would have shocked the conscience of the community if he was released from custody since it would put the public trust in the administration of justice in jeopardy.

In any case, it is extremely rare that an appeal court would overturn a conviction if the accused was tried by a judge alone and the trial was conducted properly. Even if an appeal court ordered a new trial, there would still be 21 victims testifying against him.

As of today, his date for his appeal hasn’t been set yet, hence he is still in custody. Normally he would be eligible for release after serving two-thirds of his sentence but since he is in custody waiting for his appeal to be heard, his time in incarceration will be deducted from his sentence.

No matter what the outcome, his career in the medical profession is finished and his reputation is so far down the toilet, he would have to extend his arm to the sewage plant to even touch it. 

 How does the medical board determine whether a doctor who has sexually abused patients is safe to return to practice? Board members often rely on therapists’ assessments, although therapists will concede they can never know for sure.
 Boards also typically impose various restrictions. Critics say no restriction is foolproof and medical boards are bending over backward to keep unethical doctors in practice, minimizing the gravity of their violations. I will seal with this problem in a later article on this subject of bad doctors.
 This is the end of this particular article. I will publish another one like this one in a week or so. 

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