St. Catharines Standard
Psychiatrist reprimanded, stripped of licence
By Grant LaFleche, The Standard
January 31, 2017

A former St. Catharines psychiatrist has been stripped of his medical licence by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for what the college deemed was “sexual abuse” of a patient.

On Jan. 16, the college revoked Dr. Michael Porter of his licence at a reprimand hearing into Toronto.

The revocation of Porter’s licence was ordered in September 2016 and the formal reprimand was enacted at the hearing this month. Porter was disciplined after repeatedly hugging a patient in a manner that, in the view of the college, “went beyond purported therapeutic hugs.”

“The committee accepted that the hugs were tender and mutually satisfying, reflecting an enjoyable, romantic gesture,” says an earlier February 2016 decision. “This, in the committee’s view accords with the meaning of ‘sexual nature,’ in the legislation. These hugs were wrong especially in the psychotherapy context and in the committee’s view, constitute sexual abuse.”

The college said due to a past disciplinary decision against Porter, he was required to have all of his patient sessions recorded by a video camera and the footage “preserved for inspection.”

“The hugs which were captured on video were initiated by Dr. Porter by standing and holding his arms open, welcoming Patient A to the embrace. Dr. Porter would generally stand in an area or move to behind his chair where the video was unlikely to fully capture the hug,” the decision says.

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