Doctor returning to practice despite complaints, lawsuits
Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:42PM EDT
Dr. Cathy Frank is returning to practice despite 60 malpractice lawsuits, more than 50 complaints to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and a number of restrictions on her practice.
The fertility specialist gave up her licence earlier this year - but now she's back practicing- despite the fact that those allegations have not yet been dealt with.
Frank has returned to work with her husband, Dr. James Martin, at the Southern Ontario Fertility Technologies or SOFT Clinic.
Frank and Martin are the only listed physicians at the popular clinic, and now Martin is under investigation for questionable medical practices too.
In May Frank went back to work, with her work now reviewed by chart monitors.
Barbara Legate, a lawyer representing dozens of Frank's past patients, is concerned “We don't know what the circumstances of that are, and we don't know why.”
But we do know that the fertility doctor is going back to work with a hefty list of restrictions including:
- She can't practice in the area of gynecological or obstetrical surgery unless is supervised
- She can't apply for hospital privileges in those areas
- She can't be the most responsible physician in those areas
Legate says “That's a concern. It means that you've gone through the standard education that we offer here in Ontario, you passed all the exams, but when you went out to practice, there was a problem.”
And in Frank’s case there were several alleged problems amounting to 60 lawsuits and 50 complaints to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).
It is alleged that several patients who were treated at SOFT, left with severe, long-lasting medical conditions allegedly brought on by poor technique or decisions in surgery.
And they’re decisions that some say didn't just impact the mothers, but also the babies.
“She didn't take the steps we'd expect a physician to take and the unfortunate consequence, we allege, is that children have been born with disabilities that they wouldn't otherwise have had,” Legate says.
But Frank can continue to practice while those complaints make their way through the CPSO and the courts. So too, can her husband.
Dr. James Martin will be facing a CPSO disciplinary committee for allegations that he "engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct.”
Neither Frank nor Martin were available for comment, and staff told CTV News they didn't know what the allegations against Martin were.
Legate wonders “Why is it that a physician who has all kinds of restrictions is being allowed to come back and practice at a clinic whose very own doctor is also under investigation?”
The CPSO says that the investigation into Frank's practice isn't done - and so it’s not known if other restrictions will be placed on her.
They also couldn't say what Martin is being accused of doing or causing- only that he is being accused of being incompetent and engaging in professional misconduct in his treatment of patients.
Martin’s hearing date has not yet been set.