MD reprimanded for patient's sex abuse

Normally reporters and other members of the public would not be allowed into the sombre hearing room at the college's headquarters on College St. But that changed several months ago after Toronto lawyer Marvin Siegel went to court in a bid to force the college to open up the reprimand process.

The Toronto Star
April 20, 2005

MD reprimanded for patient's sex abuse
Harold Levy

A Whitby doctor was told he was "extremely fortunate" to be given a second chance when publicly reprimanded yesterday by a panel of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The rare public reprimand — the second ever in Ontario — was delivered to Dr. Larry Henderson, 54, by Dr. Richard Mackenzie, chairman of the discipline panel that last month found him guilty of sexual abuse of a patient and suspended him for nine months. It also required him to take a course on ethics.

The college did not realize at his sentencing in March it was required by statute to deliver an automatic reprimand for this offence, said a spokesperson, and had to recall Henderson for yesterday's proceeding.

Henderson had acknowledged that between 1984 and 1994 he acted unprofessionally toward a female patient he had been counselling for marital difficulties and depression.

The misconduct constituted making inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature once, kissing her and fondling her breasts in an examination room twice, and kissing and hugging outside the office "on at least one occasion."

Henderson, a family practitioner, was also suspended in 2004 for three months and required to take a course on professional boundaries after starting a sexual relationship — with a different patient — less than one year after terminating their doctor-patient relationship.

Normally reporters and other members of the public would not be allowed into the sombre hearing room at the college's headquarters on College St. But that changed several months ago after Toronto lawyer Marvin Siegel went to court in a bid to force the college to open up the reprimand process. That case has not yet been heard.

College spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke said yesterday that after Siegel raised the issue, "the college looked at the practice and we decided that to hold reprimands in public would be in keeping with our goal to be more open and transparent."

Mackenzie berated Henderson for bringing himself and the college into disgrace through "a deliberate, flagrant abuse of the trust invested in you as a physician. You were extremely fortunate to get a second chance in this era of zero tolerance."

Henderson apologized, promised never to breach the public's trust again and said he's had "all kinds of support" from patients.


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