Edmonton

Edmonton gynecologist cleared of misconduct charge

An Edmonton gynecologist whose medical practice was restricted over inadequate sterilization of medical equipment has been cleared of professional misconduct.

'At no time did he put the public at risk or willfully risk the health of the public'

The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons cleared an Edmonton doctor of misconduct following an appeal hearing. (Shutterstock)

An Edmonton gynecologist whose medical practice was restricted over inadequate sterilization of medical equipment has been cleared of professional misconduct.

An appeal committee of the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons dismissed a charge against Dr. Musbah Abouhamra — reversing a previous ruling which found him in contravention of sanctions placed on his practice.

The misconduct charge relates to more than 50 invasive procedures Abouhamra performed at the Bonnie Doon Medical Centre between April 1, 2015, and Dec. 3, 2016.

Abouhamra had been banned by the college from performing invasive procedures in an office setting in 2007.

The ban was issued following an investigation that began in 2005 and concluded that Abouhamra improperly sterilized his instruments while working at the Lloyd Women's Clinic in Lloydminster.

In 2007, Abouhamra was restricted indefinitely from performing invasive procedures in his office and was ordered by the college to advise 261 women who had received care at the clinic to get tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C. 

In March 2015, Abouhamra moved to Edmonton and began working at the Bonnie Doon Clinic.

While he was never explicitly given permission to perform invasive procedures in his office, he began doing so, the review found. 

At a hearing tribunal in 2018, Abouhamra argued he believed the restrictions on his practice permit applied only to his practice in Lloydminster.

In February 2018, the tribunal found him in breach of his conditions, ordered his practice be suspended for seven days and ordered him to cover up to $30,000 in hearing and investigative costs.

However, an appeal panel determined the original tribunal had erred in its decision.

"The evidence does not support and it was unreasonable to find that Dr. Abouhamra was being willfully blind," reads the appeal decision.

"Abouhamra immediately ceased performing invasive procedures when he understood that the college interpreted his actions as being contrary to his restrictions, and at no time did he put the public at risk or willfully risk the health of the public.

"The review panel finds that Dr. Abouhamra mistakenly believed that the permission he sought to work at the BDC (Bonnie Doon Clinic) included the permission to perform invasive procedures, which he was already permitted to perform in hospitals."

A spokesperson for the college said the prohibition on Abouhamra performing invasive procedures in a clinic setting was lifted last month.