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Edmonton Journal
Cold Lake psychiatrist’s former patient says he shouldn’t be in practice
Doctor lost privileges in New Brunswick, Newfoundland
By Marty Klinkenberg
December 8, 2014

Psychiatrist James Hanley

Psychiatrist James Hanley

When Kathy Wiseman’s psychiatrist pleaded guilty to engaging in an inappropriate sexual relationship with her, she thought he would never practice medicine again.

So Wiseman was shocked last week when she learned that Dr. James Bernard Hanley is working in Alberta.

Stripped of licences in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick in 2007 after admitting to the sexual relationship, Hanley was granted a medical licence by Alberta’s College of Physicians and Surgeons earlier this year, and is now seeing patients at the Canadian Forces Base in Cold Lake.

“I am a little shaken,” Wiseman said Monday from her home in Halifax. “I worry about him practising on other patients. The soldiers who fight hard for this country deserve better than that.

“It’s an outrage. I don’t want to see anyone else hurt.”

A mother and grandmother, Wiseman said she attempted suicide, lost her job and became homeless as a result of incidents that occurred in Newfoundland while she was being treated by Hanley. She still suffers from depression and has trust issues, the 52-year-old said.

“I will never know why Dr. Hanley, after knowing me as a patient and all of the obstacles I overcame, would hurt me in such a way,” Wiseman said. “His actions destroyed me. I have never recovered, and have been terrified to seek significant counselling since then.

“Nobody said a word to me about him going back into practice, and here I am struggling. I have lost 10 years of my life.”

Ashley Lemire, a media liaison in Ottawa with the Department of National Defence, said while Hanley’s licence was revoked at one point, he is currently licensed to practice in Alberta and was hired following a rigorous process to which all civilian clinicians employed by the Canadian Forces submit.

Questions related to Hanley’s licence to practice should be directed to Alberta’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Lemire said.

Kelly Eby, a college spokeswoman, said privacy laws prevent officials from discussing details about any individual physician, but that a certificate of professional conduct is requested from every jurisdiction in which a doctor acknowledges they have worked.

On the application form, the physician is required to confirm that all the information is true, complete and accurate, at which point the college takes the information at face value, Eby said.

Dr. Ed Schollenberg, registrar at the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons, said he was never contacted by anyone from Alberta inquiring about Hanley’s loss of a licence there. Hanley moved to New Brunswick in 2005 after Wiseman filed a complaint against him in Newfoundland, and began seeing patients at the military base in Gagetown.

New Brunswick then followed suit when Newfoundland and Labrador revoked Hanley’s licence in 2007, Schollenberg said.

In 2011, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled Hanley could be licensed again, provided he agreed not to see patients in private. In Cold Lake, he is only being allowed to see patients when another regulated health professional is present, and must work only in a multi-physician or multi-disciplinary setting.

Eby said the Alberta College would never allow a situation where patients were placed at risk, but Wiseman remains concerned.

“They don’t understand he destroyed the psyche of one of his patients,” she said. “Who do you go to when this sort of thing happens? Who would believe me? He was a well-known psychiatrist and I was a patient with mental issues, a nobody.

“I was so afraid.”

Psychiatrist James Hanley