Ottawa's medical officer of health is looking for financial help after city taxpayers incurred $750,000 in costs after a hepatitis and HIV scare earlier this month, CBC News has learned.
A letter sent to city council members from city solicitor Rick O'Connor indicates the city can't sue Dr. Christiane Farazli, a gastroenterologist who had "not always followed" cleaning protocols, Ontario's College of Physicians and Surgeons had found.
The costs were incurred for sending 6,800 letters to patients who visited Farazli between April 2002 and June 2011, advising them to get checked for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. It also cost Ottawa Public Health to staff an information line.
Dr. Isra Levy, the letter says, will be seeking the province's help to "mitigate this unprecedented and significant cost" to OPH.
"Legal Services has reviewed possible avenues for recourse, including considering possible legal action such as professional negligence and/or malpractice type claims as a means for seeking cost recovery," it read.
"However, these litigation routes are not supportable for a variety of reasons, including the absence of a legal relationship between the physician and OPH."
Doctor no longer performing endoscopies, moving clinic
Farazli, 61, performed endoscopies, a procedure in which a medical instrument is used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body, at a private clinic located at 1081 Carling Ave., Suite 606.
She was forced to stop performing endoscopies after the inspection.
A follow-up investigation by Ottawa Public Health confirmed what the college found.
The gastroenterologist's clinic is now moving from its Carling Ave. location, CBC News also learned Friday.
One employee at the office Friday was seen packing up equipment and files and told CBC News that Farazli is out of the country and she could not be reached for comment.
The employee would not say where the doctor plans to move her practice.
Farazli is currently in the midst of suing two nurses, a doctor and the Ottawa hospital for more than $3 million for alleged negligence relating to the care of the doctor's back injury.