Kitchener doctor who sexually abused four patients during exams loses licence
Published Thursday, May 2, 2019 1:13PM EDT
TORONTO -- A Kitchener, Ont., neurologist who asked several female patients to strip naked for physical exams and touched them inappropriately at times has had his licence revoked by the province's medical regulator.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons says its discipline committee found Dr. Jeffrey Sloka, 50, sexually abused four patients and engaged in disgraceful conduct over nearly a decade.
An agreed statement of facts says Sloka's behaviour towards the four patients, identified only as patients A through D, was "of a sexual nature and not of a clinical nature."
It says none of the patients should have been examined while nude and the doctor should not have touched the patients' breasts, as he did to three of them, or their genitals, as he did to one.
Three of the patients had seizure disorders, while one was referred to Sloka after she experienced tingling from the waist down.
According to the agreed statement of facts, one of the patients was a teenager living in a group home at the time.
"Patients are at their most vulnerable in the examination room, where they rely on doctor's expertise and professionalism when it comes to being physically touched or directed to undress," the college's prosecutor, Morgana Kellythorne, told the discipline committee in her submissions this week.
"These patients were exploited and deceived by Dr. Sloka for his own sexual purposes. They turned to him seeking help for their medical needs and he preyed on them."
Sloka examined the teenage patient in 2010, telling her he needed to perform a physical, according to the document. The committee heard certain skin lesions can be markers of syndromes causing epilepsy, but that such an exam could be conducted with "appropriate draping" of a medical gown.
Instead, Sloka told her to get naked and stand with her arms and legs out while he looked at her body with his face close to her skin, the statement says. He then had her lie down on an examination table for a reflex test while still nude.
The patient told another doctor of the incident in 2016 and that doctor filed a complaint with the college.
Another patient who saw Sloka between 2010 and 2012 had a similar experience, but the doctor also cupped and lifted her breasts, the document says. She told her family what happened in 2015 and they filed a complaint with the college.
"I have lost my trust in health-care providers ... I am no longer able to trust male physicians specifically," she told the committee in a statement.
The patient, who was a student at the time, said her grades suffered, causing her to miss out on grants and leaving her with debt.
Two more patients came forward in 2017 after hearing about the investigation into these incidents, the agreed statement of facts says.
One had been a patient of Sloka's since 2011. She said she wore a medical gown during her first appointment but that Sloka touched her breasts, the document says. There was no record of a breast exam in her chart.
The woman told her family she thought she had been "felt up," but she continued to see Sloka because she could not find another doctor, the document says.
That patient told the committee her multiple sclerosis worsened due to the stress of the incident. "My anxiety has left me unable to go out without someone to reassure me that I will be OK," she said.
The fourth patient also started seeing Sloka in 2011. The doctor removed her gown during an appointment and examined her with his face close to her body, "getting on his knees when examining her legs," the statement says. He also squeezed and pushed her breasts.
When she returned to see him a few years later complaining of back pain and a leg twitch, he had her lie down on an examination table that did not have stirrups, it says. He then inserted two fingers in her vagina and said her cervix was low, the statement says.
"He had not told Patient D that he would touch her genital area or offered a reason for doing so," it says.
Sloka then put a finger in her rectum for about five seconds, "commenting that he was going to check whether constipation could be causing nerve pain," it says. He was not wearing surgical gloves.
The statement says that happened again on other occasions, for a total of three or four incidents.
As part of his penalties, Sloka has to pay close to $65,000 to help cover the patients' therapy expenses and another $6,000 for the costs of the hearing, the college said. He has also waived his right to an appeal and agreed never to apply to practise medicine in Ontario or any other jurisdiction.