Suspended radiologist says he is victim of retribution

A Yorkton physician, suspended while thousands of patient test results are reviewed, said Wednesday that Saskatchewan's College of Physicians and Surgeons is making him a scapegoat because he once sued them.

A Yorkton physician, suspended while thousands of patient test results are reviewed, said Wednesday that Saskatchewan's College of Physicians and Surgeons is making him a scapegoat because he once sued them.

Dr. Darius Tsatsi agreed in May to a voluntary suspension from his role as a radiologist with the Sunrise Health Region after health officials claimed to have found serious problems with his work.

The health region has ordered a review of about 70,000 X-rays, CT scans, mammograms and ultrasounds after peers found problems with more than 100 of Tsatsi's cases going back five years.

But Tsatsi said the mammoth review is the result of an ongoing dispute between himself and the college, claiming he was held to a higher standard than other doctors while he was going through certification in Saskatchewan. He filed a legal action alleging unfair treatment and lost.

He alleged Wednesday that the review of his work was ordered as retribution for taking the college to court.

"If you are alone, different, and you dare to question, we will show you. You'll be re-examined whether your previous assessment was good or not. Even if the reason for the re-assessment is not sufficient or fitting, we will re-examine you again and again. This has been a modern-day lynching."

Says he couldn't defend himself

Tsatsi claimed he was never able to defend himself when his work was questioned.        

"I don't believe they're real. I make mistakes like everyone else. If you read what they say, if you had access to that document, it says, 'Look, Dr. Tsatsi is not dangerous.' "

Tsatsi said he has not been allowed to examine any of the images under review and that the situation has ruined his career and harmed his family.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan's College of Physicians and Surgeons denies Tsatsi's allegations.

The college's legal counsel, Bryan Salte, said it's obviously difficult to have one's work questioned. But the role of the college is the protection of the public.

"The college obviously has an obligation to be fair to physicians in the position of Dr. Tsatsi," said Salte. "The court found that that's what we had done, and certainly, we intend to continue doing that. But the real purpose of the process is to try to make sure the public is protected and that the physicians that they receive treatment from are practising to an appropriate standard. That's what the college seeks to do."

Tsatsi had his privileges suspended May 14 after questions over "the interpretation of diagnostic images" arose.

The health unit believes there were "potential misinterpretations" of some of the images.

Tsatsi was one of three radiologists at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre.

A preliminary review of Tsatsi's work was conducted last year by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan. The college had three other doctors take a second look at 103 of Tsatsi's cases covering the period May 28 to Nov. 14, 2008.

The result was "significant clinical differences of opinion" in some of the cases, the health region said.

Another 70,000 exams, going back five years, are now under review — a process that will take months.

Tsatsi was trained in South Africa and has been working in Saskatchewan since 2004. He has also worked in the Cypress Health Region in the province's southwest and the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.

Officials have said Tsatsi twice took an exam to be certified in Saskatchewan and has failed both times. While he has one more chance to pass, while the investigation is underway, Tsatsi has agreed not to practise radiology, officials said.

Tsatsi said he is reviewing his options — including legal action against the college, the health region and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.