A local plastic surgeon has been suspended by the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons Discipline Tribunal after allegations of misconduct were brought to the Tribunal by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).
According to the Tribunal, the CPSO alleged Dr. David Lee James Wardle had engaged in sexual abuse of a patient and conduct that would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.
Between 2019 and 2020, two patients reported being treated in a manner consistent with professional misconduct by Wardle to the CPSO. Both patients reported improper touching during routine appointments or procedures.
Wardle appeared before the Tribunal via video conference on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, where he admitted that he had engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable, or unprofessional conduct. In Kingston, Wardle worked at Prestige Cosmetic Surgery.
The Tribunal accepted his admission and the CPSO withdrew the sexual abuse allegation. Wardle received a five-month suspension, reprimand and terms on his certificate of registration.
The following terms, conditions, and limitations were placed on Wardle’s certificate of registration:
- Dr. Wardle shall comply with the College Policy “Closing Medical Practice”;
- Dr. Wardle will complete the PROBE Ethics and Boundaries Program within six months of the date of the order and provide proof of his completion within one month; and
- Dr. Wardle will complete the SAEGIS Successful Patient Interactions course or another course related to this topic acceptable to the College within six months of the date of the order and provide his certificate of attendance within one month of completion
Wardle was also ordered to pay the costs of the hearing to the College of $6,000.
“The privilege of self-regulation comes with the burden of disciplining members of our profession whose conduct is deemed to be disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional,” the Tribunal said in Wardle’s reprimand. “Your failure to obtain consent with two patients, to respect their dignity and to offer appropriate privacy, to recognize boundaries in your clinical encounters, and (in one case) to even remember what surgery you had performed signals a lack of concern.
“Furthermore, it demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the inherent power imbalance in the physician/patient relationship. Your conduct with these patients caused them sufficient distress that they made formal College complaints,” the reprimand continued. “With your admission of the facts and your liability, you have spared these patients the trauma of reliving their experiences before the Tribunal. By agreeing to participate in educational endeavours addressing ethics, boundaries and patient interaction, you are demonstrating a commitment to do better.
“Your five-month suspension reflects the commitment of this panel to hold you accountable for these unacceptable actions and to demonstrate to the profession at large that such behaviour will not be tolerated.”