Whitby MD performed useless surgeries

For doctors, surgeries are roughly three times as profitable as more conservative treatment with medication, he said. Hospitals parcel out their operating room time and Mr. Harte suggested Dr. Wai-Ping's push for surgery might have been in response to a blank agenda and the risk of losing profit.

National Post
November 19, 2003

Whitby MD performed useless surgeries
Bullied dozens of women into getting hysterectomies
Joseph Brean

TORONTO - After a decade of rushing Toronto-area women into unnecessary and risky hysterectomies, a Whitby obstetrician-gynecologist was judged incompetent yesterday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Dr. Errol Wai-Ping sat sullenly as the verdict was read. Later, he hurried from the hearing to a waiting car. He did not know it but on the way he passed one of his former patients, an angry woman who had come in the hope of witnessing his downfall.

"It's like part of your life has been taken away," said the middle-aged woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.

Her experiences are illustrative of Dr. Wai-Ping's treatment of his patients, more than 100 of whom are involved in a $25-million, class-action lawsuit against him. Many of them say they were pressured into hysterectomies that an expert panel later found to be medically unjustified.

In this woman's case, Dr. Wai-Ping removed her uterus and one ovary, then the other, and then part of her Fallopian tube that he had mistakenly left inside. There were also exploratory surgeries with a scope.

"It was always 'Surgery, surgery, surgery.' I had five surgeries by him and today I find out that none of them were necessary," she said. "I want him to have his licence taken away."

Earlier in the day, Dr. Wai-Ping pleaded no contest to the college's incompetence charge, which was based on the case histories of 38 of his patients.

Under this plea, he neither accepts nor denies committing an array of serious medical errors.

The cases stretch over Dr. Wai-Ping's career as a doctor in Whitby from the early 1990s through to 2001, when the college began investigating him.

He worked until then at the Ajax-Pickering hospital of the Rouge Valley Health System and is now on a leave of absence.

The college dropped its lesser charge of professional misconduct after Dr. Wai-Ping's lawyers agreed to bypass a long trial and submit a statement outlining the evidence against him.

This statement, hastily prepared by the defence and prosecution, was based on the reports of four experts in obstetrics and gynecology who evaluated Dr. Wai-Ping's files last year.

The penalty phase of the trial begins today and could result in anything from restrictions placed on his practice to the revocation of his medical licence. It is expected to conclude next month.

The 50-page statement describes a doctor whose medical judgment was so bad he would cut into his patients on the flimsiest of evidence, and whose eagerness for surgery was so keen that he falsely told a patient she must choose between his surgery and certain death.

The statement suggests the doctor mistook ovaries for cysts, blamed patients for their symptoms, failed to adequately document his treatments, and conducted risky surgical procedures, without pain killers, in his office.

His cavalier tendency towards the last-resort option of a hysterectomy led to, in the words of the expert panel, "a pattern of offering early and often inappropriate surgery."

One patient said he urged her strenuously and repeatedly to have a hysterectomy, even offering to squeeze in an appointment for her the following week. When she asked for her medical records to seek a second opinion, Dr. Wai-Ping telephoned to apologize for his pushiness.

Paul Harte, a lawyer representing hundreds of former patients in a class-action lawsuit against Dr. Wai-Ping, said a major focus of his work has been to discover what motive, if any, underlies this "misogynist" push toward hysterectomy.

In its report, the expert panel said it was "struck by the similarities of the errors," but did not speculate what might account for this. Dr. Michael McGrath, one of the experts, wrote that he "cannot help but question the motive behind this."

Mr. Harte has alleged in documents filed for the civil action that financial gain might explain it. For doctors, surgeries are roughly three times as profitable as more conservative treatment with medication, he said.

Hospitals parcel out their operating room time and Mr. Harte suggested Dr. Wai-Ping's push for surgery might have been in response to a blank agenda and the risk of losing profit.

"He must be in a situation where he is at risk of losing his OR [operating room] time," Mr. Harte said.

The issue of motive was not addressed by the college.

The expert panel also faulted Dr. Wai-Ping for his communication skills, which were bad to the point of bullying. When one patient complained he was speaking too fast for her to understand the diagnosis, he became angry and unco-operative, the statement says.

When another complained of pain during intercourse, he told her she should "lie back and think about her husband's needs." He also suggested she was "using [the pain] as an excuse."

In one case, which the experts said did not warrant hysterectomy, he went so far as to tell 28-year-old patient she would die without one. She was booked for the operation the next day.

Dr. Wai-Ping, 50, earned his medical degree from the University of the West Indies in 1982, and was certified to practise in Ontario in 1990.

moc.tsoplanoitan|naerbj#moc.tsoplanoitan|naerbj

© Copyright 2003 National Post


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: Credence good fraudulent expert, Bully, Greed, Incompetence, Professional misconduct, Canada, 20031119 Whitby MD

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License