A Thunder Bay man whose son died after a seizure three years ago says some of the doctors who treated him were practising beyond their scope — and is concerned other doctors may be doing the same.
In Ontario, doctors are allowed to work in fields in which they are not certified as specialists. But they aren't allowed to advertise themselves as specialists in those fields. For example, family doctors can deliver babies, but can't say they're obstetricians.
It's a situation that concerns Patrick Chapin. He has been looking into it since his 14-year-old son Wesley’s death in 2009.
"I did find a number of people who are practising in specialties for which they are not certified, and they do not describe themselves as 'practising in'," Chapin said. "They ignore the law."
You can check whether your doctor is certified in a specific field.
The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has an online database that lists practising physicians and what certifications they have.
To search the database, you can go to the college's website and click on"Doctor Search."
The Ontario College of Physicians doesn't know how many doctors are following the rules around how they describe their practise and their specialties, said spokesperson Jill Hefley.
"You can imagine there's nearly 30,000 doctors in Ontario so, you know, it's our expectation that the profession will abide by the requirements," Hefley said. "And if we find they're not, then we'll do what we need to do."
Chapin said more needs to be done to ensure those requirements are enforced — especially for those doctors who advertise specialties they don't have.
"These guys shouldn't even be grandfathered in," Chapin said."If they're practising without certification: [it should be] see ya."
Chapin has filed a lawsuit against several doctors involved in his son's care.