Doctor still accused of sexual acts on patients
A family doctor who has just returned to practice after a three-year disbarment for having photographed the private parts of two patients without their knowledge will still have to defend himself for other sexual acts with young patients.
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Dr. Craig Smith was disbarred for three years, in May 2019, for photographing a patient’s genitals without her knowledge, and attempting to photograph another patient with his cellphone when she was bare-breasted , in 2018.
Even if the law provides for a minimum radiation of five years for sexual misconduct, the Disciplinary Council of the College of Physicians of Quebec (CMQ) had judged that he deserved a more lenient sanction. So he couldn’t practice for three years.
Now, Dr. Smith will face four new counts next January, including putting a finger in a patient’s vagina during a vulvar examination at the Mont-Royal Health Center. . He is also accused of crouching behind her while she was standing, and asking her to lean forward before spreading her buttocks to look at her private parts.
He is also accused of having put his hand under the bra of a 22-year-old patient, and of having touched one of her breasts, during an examination in the middle of the night at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. . According to the CMQ, these alleged facts occurred before the 2019 delisting.
Moreover, the board of directors (CA) of the CMQ was aware of the existence of this new complaint when Dr. Smith asked to be reinstated as a physician last May. Despite this, the CA has endorsed its return to practice since July.
In the judgment last June, Dr. Smith pleaded that « since the complaint has not yet been heard, he is presumed innocent of the alleged acts », we read.
Better protect women
To protect women, Dr. Smith had a practice limitation since his radiation: a nurse had to accompany him during physical examinations with women.
Given this new complaint, he can now only treat men until the hearing next January. Dr. Smith has been practicing since 2003, and he works at the Physimed clinic in Ville Saint-Laurent, according to the CMQ.
According to the judgment last June, Dr. Smith regretted his actions and feels « shame and embarrassment ». During his disbarment, he volunteered and worked at a food bank « in a way to help the public in other ways. » He also pursued therapy and “maintained his passion for medicine. »
According to the psychiatrist who has been following Dr. Smith since 2018, he does not “present a risk of recurrence”, indicates the judgment.
For the Council, Dr. Smith testified “with sincerity and candor. He said he does not intend to reoffend. This assertion is qualified as probative and it is accepted, ”we read.
The President of the College declined to comment on this specific case, since the disciplinary process is ongoing.
PATIENTS NOT ALWAYS INFORMED
Note that doctors who work with a limitation with female clients are not obliged to inform their patients, or to explain to them the reason of a nurse or another employee (chaperone) in the room.
However, the College of Physicians points out that the limitations of practice can be consulted on the CMQ website.