September 21, 2020

BY NATHAN BROWN

Going to a doctor brings about a certain feeling of comfort mixed with confidence, along with a certain level of trust. But what if a doctor goes past that metaphorical line in the sand, crossing the boundaries?

According to a Sept. 18 article in the Toronto Star, Dr. Sastri Maharajh, 54, of Mississauga, has been disciplined by the College of Physicians and Surgeons for sexually abusing as many as 13 women in his practice.

The college is the provincial medical regulatory body overseeing physicians.
His punishment? Maharajh’s practice was restricted to only males, and he must see a college-approved psychiatrist.

Unbelievable as it may seem, the committee had considered allowing Maharajh to continue to see female patients as long as he was accompanied by another health physician, but the committee feared that there was a great risk of him reoffending and decided it was in the public’s best interest to keep his practice strictly male.

So much for serious consequences.

Maharajh admitted to the committee that he had either “placed his mouth on or rested his cheek” on the breasts of these 13 patients.

Who knows how many more patients he sexually abused. Some may just not have the courage to come forward.

Maharajh told the committee that he “lost all thinking and control,” describing himself “feeling dizzy, out of touch.”

According to the Star, the doctor testified that he had been going through a difficult time with his wife and children, was sometimes suicidal, suffered from obsessive compulsion disorder and had been abusing alcohol for the past six years.

The province has legislation that says that there is “zero tolerance” for sexual assault by doctors. So what makes this case special? I believe if there truly is zero tolerance, then it should be upheld. Restricting the doctor’s practice to just male clients isn’t much of a penalty.

If the doctor/ patient trust has been broken and it’s likely he will reoffend, the physician should have his licence revoked. We know there’s a doctor shortage in Ontario, but we don’t need them that badly.

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