Let doctors report suspected drunk drivers, Brett Belchetz says
A Toronto emergency room doctor believes there is a loophole that needs to be closed, which involves drunk drivers and the medical system.
Dr. Brett Belchetz is calling for changes to the law so that doctors can report suspected impaired drivers to police.
The doctor says he recently treated a woman who refused blood tests and then left hospital before police arrived. She had been involved in a collision that left two others injured.
"Those are just heartbreaking times where I see somebody who I know has committed a crime walking out the door and a lot of the time, the patient looks at me and they know that I know that they've gotten away with it," he said in an interview with CBC News.
The incident has prompted Belchetz to speak out. He wants Ontario law to be changed, so that doctors can report suspected impaired drivers to police, as they can with gunshot wound victims.
MADD Canada supports the idea as well.
But some argue that it is possible for doctors to notify police in some cases, if they believe a suspected drunk driver will get behind the wheel and hurt themselves or others.
Calvin Barry, a criminal defence lawyer, told CBC News that "it's a real conundrum in terms of the law as it sits right now, because it’s a very high level of privilege with a doctor and a patient."
Toronto police say they have taken steps to try to ensure impaired drivers don’t escape the law.
Click on the video above to see a full report from the CBC's Sue Sgambati.