By Olivia Carville, Katrina Clarke and Sadiya Ansari | Nov 8, 2014 | Toronto Star
A GTA doctor under investigation for sexual misconduct had his licence suspended Friday after allegedly continuing to treat female patients while prohibited from doing so.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario “suspended the certificate of registration of Dr. Sharif Tadros which means that Dr. Tadros is not allowed to practice medicine effective today,” the regulatory body said in a statement.
The suspension will remain in effect until the Burlington family doctor’s disciplinary hearing in May. That hearing will address earlier allegations that Tadros, 55, had sex with two patients in his office.
Under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) allegations of sexual involvement with a patient, regardless of consent, are considered sexual abuse.
Those allegations, and allegations that he continued to treat female patients since being restricted from doing so, have not been proven.
The college is calling for any female patients who were treated by Tadros after the restrictions came into effect Sept. 17 to come forward.
Tadros’s lawyer, Dena Varah, declined comment on the suspension.
The college refused to provide further detail about the fresh allegations, including which clinics he had been treating female patients in, how many or when.
“In no circumstances are we able to provide details of our investigation until the allegations are heard at his public discipline hearing,” college spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke said.
However, Rosaria Cardoso, owner of Burlington’s Flawless Essence medical spa, told the Star that Tadros had treated female patients there with Botox injections after the restrictions were in place.
She said no one informed her that the doctor, who she described as a contractor at the beauty spa, was unable to treat women. She told the Star she found out through a third party, which spurred her to search his name online and then contact the college. She would not say when this happened.
“He never told us anything. How were we supposed to know what the restrictions are? Nobody contacted us saying Dr. Tadros is being investigated,” she said.
“Who was going to tell me? If he didn’t tell us, who would have told us?”
Cardoso said she has emailed Tadros telling him he can no longer work at the beauty spa.
Medical malpractice lawyer Amani Oakley said the college’s refusal to provide further information on Tadros’s suspension was inappropriate when its role was to protect the public.
“To do their job right, they need to be more transparent,” Oakley said.
“My concern overall is it seems to require a Toronto Star investigation every time in order to uncover these things,” she said.
Tadros’s case has raised questions about how the College is able to ensure a doctor complies with licence restrictions even in private settings where a physician does not bill through OHIP.
The College said it asks physicians to update their address locations annually, but it is unclear how it keeps track of doctors who don’t.
Clarke said Wednesday the college has oversight over doctor licences no matter where they work and it “conducts unannounced inspections of a physician’s practice and has in [Tadros’] this case and continues to do so.”
In a follow-up question Thursday, the College told the Star Tadros was “not affiliated with an out-of-hospital premises.”
A day later it suspended his licence.
There are 21 physicians in Ontario who have gender-based restrictions on practising, a Star investigation recently found.
Tadros is one of only three doctors to have full restrictions banning him from treating female patients.
Ontario’s Health and Long-Term Care Minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins, recently ordered a review of the decades-old legislation that governs all 23 of the province’s regulatory colleges.
“I am sickened and disgusted by the actions of physicians who sexually assault, abuse or harass anyone,” he told the Star by email.
“I have zero tolerance for any criminal sexual behaviour and will – after a thorough review by experts and victims’ advocates – make any and all necessary changes to ensure Ontarians are protected from such despicable behaviour.”