Bulletin December 2019

Bulletin December 2019

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 will be aware of these matters.

Officers and Councillors 2019-2020


 President - Dr. Julie Whalen, Moncton    Registrar - Dr Ed Schollenberg 
 Vice President - Dr. Nicole Matthews, Campbellton  
 Dr. Éric Basque, Pointe-des-Robichaud  Dr. Marcel Mallet, Moncton
 Dr. Zeljko Bolesnikov, Fredericton  Dr. Nicole Matthews, Campbellton
 Ms. Diane Brideau-Laughlin, Ammon  Ms. Patricia I. O'Dell, Riverview
 Dr. Hanif Chatur, Grafton  Dr. Stéphane Paulin, Oromocto
 Dr.  Michael Hayden, Miramichi  Dr. Peter Ross, St. Andrews
 Ms. Denise Hollway, Rothesay  Dr. Kerry Sheppard, Saint John
 Dr. Éric Levasseur, Edmundston  Dr.  Susan E. Skanes, Dieppe
 Ms. Ruth Lyons, Tide Head  Dr. James Stephenson, Saint John


At its meetings on November 29th, 2019, Council considered the following matters.


A Counsel is advice as to how to improve the physician’s conduct or practice.

A Caution is intended to express the dissatisfaction of the Committee and to forewarn the physician that if the conduct recurs, more serious disciplinary action may be considered. 

A Censure is the expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism.

A family complained regarding the care provided by three physicians to their elderly mother during her admission to hospital. The family felt that the physicians had made assumptions regarding the patient’s functionality and, consequently, initially only offered palliative care.  When she was treated more aggressively, she did well.  The physicians were Counselled to avoid reaching improper conclusions which might be seen as “ageism”.

A radiologist made a diagnostic error in interpretation of a CT scan. The error may have had an effect on patient care.  There was no other evidence of misreading.  Consequently, the Committee recommended that the physician be issued a Caution. 

An employer complained regarding an absence note issued by a patient’s family physician. Among other things, he stated it was improper for the physician to issue such a note without assessing the patient directly.  The physician responded that the patient had a longstanding problem with which the physician was quite familiar.  In these circumstances, it was acceptable to address the patient’s condition based on information received from the family.  The Committee felt this was appropriate under these circumstances.

A father took his daughter to a walk-in clinic where she was assessed appropriately by the physician. However, the physician had a past dispute with the father regarding an unrelated community activity.  A discussion developed which turned into an argument.  This was an unusual circumstance.  While this had no effect on patient care, this was clearly an unnecessary discussion.  The Committee felt no action was warranted on the matter.

A patient had a difficult recovery after nasal surgery. She claimed that she was not given the appropriate information prior to surgery, and when the surgeon had to deal with a complication, he failed to provide adequate warning.  The physician acknowledged that there were language issues with this patient which contributed to her anxiety.  The Committee noted that, at any point in treatment, the patient is entitled to appropriately informed consent and it is the physician’s obligation to be assured that the patient has received and understood all relevant information.

A patient suicided while recovering from cancer surgery. During the recovery the patient had been seen several times by his family, physician.  The family, consequently, complained that the family physician had failed to respond to signs suggesting the potential for self-harm.  The physician asserted that neither he, nor other physicians involved, had noted anything unusual.  The Committee noted that these are unfortunate events which happen often without significant forewarning.  The Committee did not feel further action was warranted.

A patient had decreasing vision from cataracts. His vision had become borderline for driving.  The surgeon had recommended corrective surgery, but the patient refused.  As a consequence, his potential difficulties with driving were reported to the authorities.  The patient alleged that he was being forced into surgery that he did not want.  The physician responded he did not have any alternative, but to report the patient as the law required.  The Committee agreed with the physician that his obligation to report the patient was clear.  However, the Committee did Counsel the physician to consider taking more time to attempt to deal with this patient who was having difficulty seeing the benefits of appropriate treatment. 

Medical Identification Number for Canada (MINC)

This identification number is used for various purposes to track physicians between different entities. On its own, it has no particular significance.  Nevertheless, having the number assigned to all physicians in New Brunswick will make it more useful in a number of ways.  Consequently, those who have not had a number issued will have one done so in the next while.  If a member objects to this, they should contact the College office.

Registration Fess

To cover the increased costs of criminal record checks, the College has approved increasing the registration fee from $150 to $200. This still remains the lowest in Canada.  All other College fees remain unchanged.

Annual Renewal

By now, all physicians should have received their combined invoice for their annual fees and those of their Professional Corporation, where applicable. Physicians should contact the College immediately if such has not been received.  Members who have changed their contact information, their banking information, or do not wish to renew their licences, should contact the College office by email or fax.