Dismissed doc fights backPhysician returns to Inuvik for fond farewell
Northern News Services
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Dr. Peter Boronowski and his wife Elaine Benoit are back in Inuvik to say goodbye.
Dr. Peter Boronowski says he is saddened to leave Inuvik and other communities in the Beaufort Delta, where he has practised medicine for the last decade. - NNSL file photo
Boronowski says he was forced from his position as a locum doctor after more than a decade and has yet to be given a reason.
"They've told me in no uncertain terms that they don't want me back," he told the Drum.
"There are a few people at the hospital who are upset, but so many more are very supportive of me and my situation."
As the Drum previously reported, Boronowski said his contract as a locum doctor with the Beaufort Delta Health and Social Services Authority was terminated as a result of complaints filed against him. The authority has yet to tell him anything about the complaints, despite repeated queries from Boronowski himself and letters from the lawyer representing him.
Furthermore, he said he suspects writing two letters on behalf of patients to support their need for their employer to accommodate them played a part. Their employer was the hospital.
Now, he said the case is before the credentials committee, the territorial body tasked with reviewing physicians' credentials and allowing them to practise in the NWT. Boronowski, himself a member of that committee, said it has no mandate to investigate doctors and that while the health authority has stopped pushing for such an investigation, the complaints remain before the committee, to be reviewed when Boronowski's credentials come up for review in the spring.
The committee, according to its bylaws, has the power to review a physician's credentials upon the recommendation of a medical director or CEO of a health authority in the event that there are complaints against them.
"It's like you're guilty, but we're not going to tell you what you're guilty of," he said.
"I realized I wasn't coming back."
Boronowski said he has been looking at locum positions in other jurisdictions but his efforts have been stymied there as well.
"On every form, there is a question about whether you have been investigated, whether you have ever been fired from a locum position, whether there has ever been legal action against you," he said.
"Now I have to tick yes. My ability to practise, to do locums, has been stopped. After a long and successful career, I'll be saying yes to those questions forever and will be denied privileges."
Now, Boronowski and Benoit are back to settle their affairs, sell their house, and say goodbye to friends. They have social engagements nearly every evening and are constantly stopped in the street. A feast in Boronowski's honour is being planned for the Inuvik Youth Centre Sept. 11.
"People are telling us to not give up the fight," said Benoit.
"They say this happens all the time, and to not give up the fight."
At this point, the Canadian Medical Protective Association will cover the cost of a lawyer for Boronowski's defence, but not help him sue the authority in the event that the situation here prevents him from further practising medicine.
"I would like it to be a win-win, that they drop the complaints and that they put it in writing that they've dropped it," Boronowski said.
"Then I can just get on with my life. It's too bad, I loved to work here, but clearly I'm not wanted."
Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Damien Healy said neither the department nor the hospital can comment on individual cases.
"As previously responded by our CEO of the Beaufort Delta Health and Social Services Authority, we cannot speak to individual staff or contractor issues," he wrote in an e-mail to the Drum. "Dr. Boronowski did not hold a staff position in the Beaufort Delta Health and Social Services Authority. He provided locum physician services for several terms. The BDHSSA is appreciative of his years of dedication to patients in the region."