Canada : Indian doctor admits to ‘sexual involvement’ with vulnerable patients

A Stony Plain family doctor who admitted to having sex with four vulnerable patients, one of whom he improperly prescribed opioids, will be sanctioned by Alberta’s medical college.

Dr. Sanjeev Bhardwaj admitted to six counts of professional misconduct under the Health Professions Act, according to a decision from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta released Monday.

Among other things, the hearing heard that Bhardwaj prescribed one woman, identified as Patient A, high levels of opioids despite signs that she was addicted to the drug.

“Dr. Bhardwaj admits that he gave Patient A repeat prescriptions in part because he was sexually attracted to her,” the decision states.

“He hoped that she would reciprocate his feelings if he pleased her by giving her the medication she was requesting.”

According to the decision, Bhardwaj was Patient A’s doctor between 2005 and 2015.

The hearing found he erred by prescribing her high levels of opioids — the equivalent of more than 20 mg of morphine each day — and by failing to refer her to a chronic pain and addiction specialist.

It also found Bhardwaj had “sexual involvement” with the patient between 2010 and 2014 — which the college said was unethical and a violation of its standard of practice regarding sexual boundary violations.

After a complaint was made about him, Bhardwaj revealed he had been sexually involved with three other vulnerable patients. He admitted to being sexually involved with one patient twice in 2006 and 2007, once with another in 2008 and once with a third patient in 2014.

Bhardwaj also admitted to failing to disclose the sexual incidents on his annual practice renewal forms.

Bhardwaj’s lawyer, James Peacock, told the hearing that as soon at the doctor found out about the complaint against him “he acknowledged it and accepted responsibility from the very start.”

A hearing on Bhardwaj’s punishment took place May 1 to May 3. The college said the results would be publicly released when they are complete.

Postmedia reached out to Bhardwaj for comment through his lawyer but did not immediately hear back. A spokesperson for the college said Bhardwaj is not currently practicing.

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