Alta. MLA alleges hush-money paid to doctors
Posted: Feb 28, 2011 6:19 PM MT
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2011 8:32 PM MT
About 250 lung-cancer patients died waiting for surgery and doctors were paid not to talk about it, an Alberta MLA and emergency room doctor alleged Monday.
"It has been brought to my attention that due to fierce competition for finite operating time between surgeons, about 1,200 Albertans were on a wait list for lung surgery, 250 died waiting on that list, many with lung cancer," Raj Sherman told the Alberta legislature in a question to Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky.
"It has also come to my attention that physicians who raised these issues were either punished or driven out of the province, were paid out in millions to buy their silence and the cost buried in the books under the former Capital Health Region."
Sherman alleged the payouts occurred while Gary Mar was minister of health, which was between 2003 and 2006.
He said the former CEO of the disbanded Capital Health Region, Sheila Weatherill, and Dr. Trevor Theman, the registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, were aware of the situation.
Sherman also alleged Capital Health kept a second set of financial books that included the payouts.
"I don't know if those allegations are correct," Zwozdesky said after Sherman called on him to investigate. "They are certainly sounding inappropriate to me. But I won't challenge them at this time. I said I will have a look into this issue and I will do that."
Zwozdesky wanted to know where Sherman got his information and asked him to share or table it in the house. Speaker Ken Kowalski reminded MLAs they have an onus to show proof of any allegations they make.
MLAs cannot be sued for what they say inside the legislative chamber. Sherman would not repeat his allegations when he spoke to reporters after question period.
When contacted by CBC, Theman said he has never heard about the wait list or the coverup alleged by Sherman. He said he wasn't the registrar when Mar was minister of health.
Sherman, the MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark, has sat in the legislature as an independent MLA since he was turfed from the Progressive Conservative caucus last November for speaking out against long emergency room wait times.
Sheila Weatherill was appointed to the board of Alberta Health Services in February. Mar, who is currently Alberta's envoy to Washington, is widely believed to be considering a run for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.
Latest Edmonton News Headlines
- Lindale residents preparing for 2nd night away from home
- Wildfires in Brazeau and Strathcona counties are holding, but many residents in Lindale will likely not be permitted to return home today. more »
- Supporters protest bail in boy's patio death
- About 60 people protested outside the Edmonton courthouse where a bail hearing was held Thursday for the man accused of killing a two-year-old boy on an restaurant patio. more »
- Trudeau raises environmental questions over pipeline
- Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says a proposed west-east pipeline project will not go forward unless it addresses key environmental concerns. more »
- Rain, snow in K-Country prompts rescue of school campers
- A group of wet and cold school kids and their adult supervisors from Edmonton had to be rescued from Kananaskis Country on Wednesday night. more »
Top News Headlines
- Duffy says he wants to give Canadians "full story"
- Senator Mike Duffy says he wants a "full and open" inquiry so Canadians can get all the facts about the scandal that has rocked the Senate and the Prime Minister's Office and that he has no plans to resign. more »
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma murder case to plead not guilty
- The lawyer for Mark Smich says the Oakville, Ont., resident will plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man who disappeared earlier this month after taking two men on a test drive of his truck. more »
- Chat about the rise of binge TV watching on Thursday 7 p.m.
- After a seven year hiatus, Netflix is set to release a new season of Arrested Development -- and some fans are already predicting they'll watch all 15 episodes in one sitting. This week on CBC Live Online, host Lauren O'Neil will speak with a panel of guests and viewers like you about the rise of binge TV watching. Harmless hobby or horrible habit? more »
- SNC-Lavalin letter says Gadhafi son offered VP post: RCMP
- SNC-Lavalin's ties to Libya's former dictatorship ran so deep the company offered the son of Moammar Gadhafi a six-figure job as a vice president in 2008, according to a newly unsealed RCMP affidavit. more »
- Smudge, the Hotel Macdonald's friendliest greeter
- Lindale fire doubles in size within hours
- Hostage taking at Edmonton courthouse sends prisoner to hospital
- Photocopier bill could topple Edmonton charity
- Postal workers strike in Fort McMurray
- Edmonton driver, 62, charged in boy's patio death
- Wait time and primary care reforms stalled
- Liam, Emma, most popular names for Alberta babies
- Driver too drunk to stand, says mom of toddler killed on patio