This Bulletin is forwarded to every medical practitioner in the province. Decisions of the College on matters of standards, amendments to Regulations, guidelines, etc., are published in Bulletins. The College therefore assumes that a practitioner should be aware of these matters.
President - Dr. Douglas Brien, Saint John
Registrar - Dr. Ed Schollenberg
At its meeting on 9 September, 2005, Council considered the following matters:
There was a complaint that a physician had resisted a patient's attempt to be treated out of province. In response, the physician noted that the patient's condition was rare and complicated and asserted that there was no attempt to impede her access to care elsewhere. The Committee noted that, throughout the course, treatment was coordinated between the local physician and the external centre. The Committee could find no fault with the care provided.
There was a complaint concerning the transfer of a patient between two Emergency Departments. It was alleged that the first physician had failed to properly communicate to the receiving physician, or provide adequate documentation. In the Committee's view, the complaint was well founded. There had been no direct communication between the physicians. The documentation was minimal. The physician was reminded that, when transferring patients, every attempt should be made to communicate directly with the receiving physician. Failing that, complete documentation on the care provided to that point should be included.
There was a complaint that an elderly couple had been improperly discharged from a physician's practice. On reviewing the matter, it was clear that the physician was having some difficulty with the patients. However, they were not given any warning of the risk of being discharged. In the Committee's view, discharge from a practice should rarely come as a surprise. In this case, the physician should have first met with the patients, discussed any areas of difficulty, and made it clear that failure to resolve them could result in them having to leave the practice.
There was a complaint alleging that a physician failed to make a timely diagnosis of appendicitis. In reviewing the facts, the Committee felt that the patient's presentation was somewhat unusual and the diagnosis could not have been made any sooner. The Committee felt the physician had provided appropriate care.
A patient complained that a consultant had failed to provide a report back to the family physician in a timely fashion. The family physician needed the report in order to complete some documentation on the patient's behalf.
The patient had been seen briefly, and no treatment or follow-up was recommended. Nevertheless, the report to the family physician was not sent for seven weeks. The Committee felt this was an unnecessary delay under the circumstances. Furthermore, the consultant had billed Medicare for the consultation even though the report had not been forwarded. The Committee felt this was also unacceptable.
A patient complained that her family physician improperly attempted to intimidate her into accepting surgery. She alleged that the consultant had not recommended such. In reviewing the case, the Committee agreed with both the family physician and the consultant that the patient would benefit from the procedure. Nevertheless, the patient had a significant fear of surgery which was the source of the difficulty. The Committee felt the family physician had handled a difficulty situation appropriately.
The Committee also recommended that licensure be denied to a physician who had failed to provide accurate and complete information on his application for licensure.
DR. JAMEEL KHATRI
This physician had plead guilty to a charge of possession of child pornography. In the opinion of Council, this activity was inconsistent with the proper professional behaviour of a physician and, as a consequence, based on the authority granted to it under the Medical Act, revoked his license to practise in New Brunswick. This may be subject to legal challenge.
Based on the continuing sound financial position of the College, Council agreed to make no change in any of the College fees for 2006.
The Executive of the College for 2005-2006 is as follows:
President: Dr. Marc Bourcier, Moncton
Vice-President: Dr. Malcolm Smith, Tracadie-Sheila
Past President: Dr. Douglas Brien, Saint John
Public Member: Mr. Eugene LeBlanc, Dalhousie
Member at large: Dr. Robert Rae, Saint John
REVIEW OF COLLEGE ACTIVITIES
Given the resources available to the College, a question has arisen as to whether the College is involved in all of the areas it might be, specifically regarding additional services to members. The Council of the College will be reviewing this issue over the next year. The format of this review is not settled, but if members have any comments regarding future directions for the College, such would be very much appreciated.