‘Incompetent’: Mississauga psychiatrist suspended again for professional misconduct
by Louie Rosella
March 1, 2018
The disciplinary committee of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons found on Feb. 1 that Dr. Christopher Doyle, who is now affiliated with Cambridge Memorial Hospital but still reportedly practices in Mississauga, made a female patient feel “confused, ashamed and humiliated.” The woman also had suicidal thoughts due to her dealings with him, according to committee findings.
“The Discipline Committee found that Dr. Christopher Stephen Doyle committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he has failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession, and in that he has engaged in conduct or an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as unprofessional,” the ruling stated. “The Committee also found that Dr. Doyle is incompetent.”
Doyle offered no comment Wednesday night, Feb. 28, but told The News he might have a response at a later time.
The latest finding comes after a female patient of Doyle’s in 2013 and 2014, launched a complaint against the doctor after she told him she was starting to have feelings for him.
“Dr. Doyle indicated that he was flattered but that her feelings were not appropriate for the physician-patient relationship. Patient A perceived Dr. Doyle to be extremely uncomfortable by her disclosure,” the committee ruling stated.
The following day, the female patient sent Doyle an email apologizing and the doctor responded explaining that he could no longer see her and while her feelings were understandable, they “are not appropriate for their relationship.”
The patient was devastated by this response, the committee ruled, and she went to see her family physician in July 2014, reporting “suicidal thoughts and self-blame as a result of this interaction with Dr. Doyle.”
She went to the hospital with a “suicide plan” several days later and was voluntarily admitted for several days, the hearing heard.
Doyle, who graduated from McGill University in 1993 and then specialized in psychiatry at the University of Toronto, didn’t take any action in respect to the transfer of care for the patient, he didn’t send a termination letter to her and didn’t communicate with the referring physician about the end of the therapeutic relationship, the panel ruled.
“He did not make arrangements for the prescription of Patient A’s medications, nor did he assist in finding another psychiatrist for Patient A,” the ruling stated.
Doyle had indicated his plan was to officially terminate the patient-doctor relationship with the woman at an appointment in August of 2014, but she never showed, the committee heard.
An investigation into Doyle’s private practice by an expert revealed, among many findings, “a lack of skill and/or judgment that exposed or is likely to expose his patients to harm or injury in 19 of the 24 patient charts reviewed,” the discipline committee stated.
The issues identified include inadequate documentation/record-keeping, inadequate risk assessments and/or interventions for self-harm and aggressive ideation and inappropriate prescribing of a narcotic, said the ruling.
In January 2017, a medical adjudicator from the Canada Student Loan Program called Doyle to verify the authenticity of a medical report that she was reviewing for an individual who was a patient of Doyle’s.
The adjudicator said that Doyle answered the phone with profanity and spoke rudely, stating “If you need your prescriptions filled, go to the (profanity) pharmacy.”
Assuming that she had dialed incorrectly, the adjudicator dialed again. This time, Doyle answered with more profanity, stating “Stop (profanity) calling me,” the hearing was told.
When the adjudicator introduced herself and stated the purpose of the call, Doyle identified himself and apologized, indicating that he thought he was talking to a patient who was calling him non-stop.
The adjudicator then reported her experience with Doyle to the College and described the profanities used as “f-bombs.”
On April 10 last year, the College’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee issued an interim order suspending Doyle’s certificate of registration.
In fall 2009, the college’s discipline committee found Doyle, who was then also practising in Mississauga, committed an act of professional misconduct. The ruling posted on the organization’s website says Doyle provided psychotherapy to a patient in 2005 and 2006 on about 45 occasions. He reported the therapeutic relationship ended in July 2006, due to an inability to maintain a strict doctor-patient relationship.
Late that summer, a romantic relationship developed. Prior to the first date, there had been no physical contact, in particular while the patient was under his care.
The committee ordered Doyle’s registration suspended for a year, or six months if he completed three courses. A number of terms were imposed, including continued therapy with a psychotherapist, restrictions on care to female patients and clinical supervision.
The case returns before the panel on March 12 to determine an appropriate penalty.