Complaints made against Dr. Manivasan Moodley by two women have led to the gynecologist being sanctioned for professional misconduct.
A hearing to determine what these sanctions are and what costs will be associated with the decision hasn't been scheduled yet.
However, it wasn't a unanimous decision. One of the five hearing committee panel members, Dr. Naeem Khan, disagrees with the majority decision.
The Cape Breton Post could not immediately receive comment from Moodley or his lawyer Robin Cook by deadline on Friday.
Posted on the Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons website on Nov. 25, the hearing committee's statement said they found testimonies of the two female complainants A.B. and C.D., who are not being named, to be "credible and reliable."
Upon examining the complainants' testimonies and referencing the Canadian Medical Association's code of ethics and the college's professional guideline in relation to sexual misconduct and physician-patient relationships, the hearing committee found Moodley did make comments and ask questions of a personal or sexual manner which had no medical relevance to the patients' cases.
They also determined Mooldey committed professional misconduct against both women by not "treating them with dignity and as a person worthy of respect" in respects to:
• Making comments about their appearances, clothes
• Instigating discussion not appropriate by accepted medical standards which had no relevance to their cases
• Reached boundaries of the physician-patient relationship where the doctor is in a position of power
• Breached professional standards and crossed sexual boundaries
In the decision, the committee acknowledged they allowed some evidence that would be deemed inadmissible under the rules of law, they point out they aren't bound to this as per the Medical Practitioners Regulations. However, the decision stated "most weight" was given to sworn testimonies and in both cases examined all information provided as a whole.
The hearing found the college's allegation Moodley had not conducted her internal exam in an unprofessional way, they did say the doctor didn't get consent from her in regards to how he would apply lubrication to her vaginal opening.
"A physician should take steps to ensure that the patient knows and understands (what the physician will be doing)," the decision reads. "The greater the touching in an intimate area, the greater the need for explicit consent."
The panel also found Moodley comments as a whole constituted speaking in a personal or sexual manner, thus constituted professional misconduct and in the decision used Moodley's first comment to A.B. asking what a "young, beautiful" woman was doing at his office.
"(That comment alone) would be careless and perhaps unwise (but when looked at in relation to everything else said during the July 6, 2017 visit) that comment indicated that he found her attractive. He then expressed that attraction in a series of sexually-oriented remarks and questions."
The panel acknowledged there were discrepancies with some of the facts C.D. told during her testimony and verbal interviews done during her first complaint filed with the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
Moodley's lawyers argued these discrepancies plus the fact C.D. didn't remember a medical procedure or appointment meant she was not credible but the hearing committee didn't agree.
When reviewing all of the information provided by C.D., they concluded Moodley "more likely than not" made comments or asked questions about where C.D. lived, the layout of her house and knowing where her home was. They also concluded Moodley did make comments of a personal or sexual nature not medically relevant to why she was referred to him which include:
• How do you look after yourself sexually when your partner is away
• It seems that you would have a healthy sexual appetite
• Did you use your fingers or sex toys
• Complimented her underwear colour matching her lipstick
"There was no doubt there was no medical relevance (to commenting on her underwear)."
With regards to Moodley showing up at C.D.'s workplace and having an employee page her, which Moodley said was because she missed an appointment, the panel found he breached boundaries of a physician-patient relationship and found it "difficult to accept Dr. Moodley's explanation for trying to contact" her there.
The panel did reject the crown's claim that Moodley asked to do an internal examination in his office, which he testified wasn't equipped for these. They also said Moodley did conduct her pelvic ultrasound in accordance with accepted standards.
Moodley's defence team called to the stand a number of character witnesses who testified they had never witnessed the obstetrician-gynecologist conduct his examinations in the ways A.B. and C.D. said he did.
The hearing committee said they sided with the college's argument colleagues who worked with and witnessed Moodley with other patients shouldn't hold much weight because he wouldn't act the same with others around.
"It would be very surprising that he would openly engage in such conduct repeat in the presence of his colleagues," the statement says.
Dr. Naeem Khan was the only panel member who didn't agree with the decision and his dissension is included in the published decision.
"I am not satisfied with this process of reaching a decision and disappointed in how the majority came to its conclusion," his statement reads.
Believing all charges should be dismissed, Khan said he doesn't believe the college proved the allegations against Moodley calling "the quality of proof poor." He also pointed out where C.D. not remembering appointments or procedures didn't lead to her being uncredible while Moodley not remembering her first visit did.
"We are asked to accept that the allegations of the complainants are facts and we must believe them," he says in his dissension.
"Allegations are not facts. The probability of the complainant's allegations being true is no greater than what Dr. Moodley says is true."
Acknowledging Moodley's "approach was uncommon," Khan says the college should have made sure since Moodley was new to practicing in Cape Breton they should have helped him learn what patients might expect.
"The college appointed a sponsor and a supervisor who failed to train him with local sensitivities and cultural differences before he actually started his practice."
Nicole Sullivan is an education, enterprise and diversity reporter for the Cape Breton Post.
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