CBC News

Had sex with patient, psychiatrist’s licence revoked
‘It was almost like reliving the trauma,’ complainant says after emotional hearing

Psychiatrist James Hanley

Psychiatrist James Hanley

A psychiatrist and a complainant both wept Thursday at an emotion-packed hearing in which Newfoundland and Labrador’s medical regulatory authority revoked his licence.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador stripped Dr. James Hanley of his privileges to practise medicine in the province after he admitted having sex with a patient who was under his care.

Hanley, who is now practising at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, told a college tribunal Thursday his judgment was clouded while he was carrying on an affair with Kathleen Wiseman.

Wiseman, 44, who filed a complaint against Hanley in 2005, said it was difficult to face Hanley at Thursday’s hearing in a downtown St. John’s hotel conference room.

“It was almost like reliving the trauma, and going through all over it again,” she said after the hearing.

Wiseman had been Hanley’s patient for 17 years. She began treatment to deal with depression and the consequences of abuse that she had suffered.

Emotional as she read a victim impact statement, Wiseman told the college tribunal that Hanley took advantage of her during a vulnerable period beginning in the fall of 2003.

“You knew how tragic my life was and I begged of you to help me, but you took advantage of me in the worst possible way,” she told Hanley.

Later, looking directly at him, Wiseman asked, “What did I ever do to you to take advantage of me like that?”

Hanley closed his practice in St. John’s in 2005 and moved to New Brunswick.

A six-page agreed statement of facts, which was read into the record, said Hanley had agreed to not practise medicine in New Brunswick, but did so anyway.

Hanley told the panel he admitted to what he described as “a very serious boundary violation,” and apologized to his family for the pain they have endured.

Lost ‘jewel of my life’

He said his judgment was clouded during the period he was having sex with Wiseman because of extreme fatigue from overworking.

He said he lives daily with feelings of anxiety and guilt, and lamented losing his medical practice in St. John’s, which he described as the “jewel of my life.”

Hanley also addressed how he would like to rehabilitate himself. He asked the tribunal to consider “the good I’ve done and can do in years to come.”

Hanley concluded by tearfully apologizing directly to Wiseman.

Outside the hearing room, Wiseman accepted the apology, but indicated that was as far as she would go.

“I can’t forgive him. I have a lot of healing to do,” she said.

Lawyer Paul Stokes, who represented Hanley at the hearing, said his client is looking to rebuild his life.

“He’s shown remorse and has taken ownership for his actions, and he’s done the right thing,” Stokes said.

Hanley still holds a medical licence in New Brunswick. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick must now decide whether it will revoke Hanley’s privileges in that province.


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Canadian Psychiatrist James Hanley