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The Disciplinary Powers of the CPSO in Action: A Case Study

photo depicting two doctors in surgical masks and hairnets operating on an unseen person behind a privacy sheet

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (the “CPSO”) is the governing body that regulates and oversees the standards of the practice of medical doctors throughout the province of Ontario. They are also responsible for responding to and investigating complaints they receive with respect to individual physicians. In cases where those complaints are found to be valid, the CPSO Discipline Committee is tasked with imposing penalties commensurate with the wrongdoing. These penalties can range from placing restrictions on the doctor’s certificate of registration (required to practice medicine in Ontario), to imposing fines or mandating further education, to revoking the certificate altogether. One thing that the CPSO cannot do, however, is award financial compensation to members of the public who have suffered an injury due to medical error. If an injured patient requires financial compensation, they would have to commence a civil medical malpractice lawsuit.

We have previously blogged about the process of filing a complaint with the CPSO, and what to expect once you do. Today, we’re going to examine a case study of the Discipline Committee of the CPSO in action by looking at the recent case of a Niagara-area physician who has undertaken to no longer practice medicine following nearly a decade of complaints and disciplinary action with respect to his incompetence.

Obstetric and Gynecologic Surgeon in Niagara Region Pleads No Contest to Professional Misconduct and Incompetence

A former chief of obstetrics and gynecology with Niagara Falls General Hospital willingly resolved to no longer practice medicine this month following a number of complaints from patients and colleagues and a long history of disciplinary proceedings before the CPSO. Dr. Allan Jackiewicz first faced the Discipline Committee in 2010 when he was found to have engaged in professional misconduct after a series of patient complaints. Among the findings, the Committee determined that Dr. Jackiewicz had taken a number of unnecessary risks or neglected to act appropriately in the treatment of his patients pre- and post-partum, and during the delivery of their children. As a result of that finding, the Committee placed restrictions on Dr. Jackiewicz’s certificate and he was ordered to complete further education, among other penalties.

Over the next several years, the CPSO continued to receive complaints about Dr. Jackiewicz’s skills, his judgment and the overall treatment of his patients. At one point in 2014, a supervising physician was brought in to mentor Dr. Jackiewicz and report on his progress. The mentorship concluded with a damning report citing Dr. Jackiewicz’s lack of skills and “outdated and dangerous” techniques. The supervising physician then resigned from his position as mentor.

Earlier this year, the CPSO determined that Dr. Jackiewicz posed a threat to public safety due to his professional misconduct, incompetence and unwillingness to make an attempt to remedy their concerns. Dr. Jackiewicz entered a plea of no contest to the findings and willingly signed an undertaking promising not to practice medicine in Ontario or any other jurisdiction. The Discipline Committee noted that had he not voluntarily given up his certificate to practice, they would have had no choice but to revoke it.

Stay Informed About Your Medical Providers

The CPSO and the Discipline Committee provide an invaluable service when it comes to protecting public safety and providing transparency to residents of Ontario with respect to individual physicians. When it comes to matters of healthcare, you are putting your trust in the hands of your doctors.  

How Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help

For those who’ve already suffered injury as a result of medical negligence, the disciplinary branch of the CPSO does not provide financial relief directly to the victim. The CPSO is unable to secure compensation for the injured parties as part of the complaint process, and because of this, it is also important to engage a respected medical malpractice firm if you wish to seek financial compensation.

If you have concerns about care or treatment you received from a physician, contact the Toronto-based medical malpractice lawyers at Sommers Roth & Elmaleh. We represent clients all across Canada. We are highly respected in both the medical and legal fields and offer compassionate, knowledgeable, and skilled guidance to patients affected by medical error. Call us at 1-844-777-7372 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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