New Brunswick

Fredericton family doctor suspended for 'intimate' relationship with a patient

The family doctor suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons for having sex with a patient has been identified as Dr. Everette Hanson of Fredericton.

Married female patient and her husband filed complaint with College of Physicians and Surgeons

Dr. Everette Hanson, 60, pleaded guilty to professional misconduct after the female patient and her husband filed a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick. (Shutterstock)

A family doctor suspended last month by the College of Physicians and Surgeons for having sex with a patient has been identified as Dr. Everette Hanson of Fredericton.

Hanson, 60, has practised in the area for more than 30 years.

He had "an intimate" relationship with a married female patient in her 50s for about three years, according to college registrar Dr. Ed Schollenberg.

Hanson could not immediately be reached for comment.

The college had announced on Dec. 14 that an unnamed family doctor was going to be suspended for at least a year for having "an improper relationship" with a patient.

Hanson's name and additional details were released by the provincial regulatory body on Dec. 31.

Hanson was not the woman's regular physician but did see her occasionally at his practice, which largely functions as a walk-in service, said Schollenberg.

The college's investigation found that none of the sexual activity occurred at the office.

"We've seen situations where the physicians force themselves or intimidated the patient in some fashion," said Schollenberg. "That doesn't appear to be part of the mix here.

"We have no reason to believe … that there was some particular vulnerability for this patient," he added. "But as a basic point, intimate contact is improper if it's a doctor and a patient. End of story."

Ed Schollenberg, registrar of New Brunswick's College of Physicians and Surgeons, said the doctor must complete a 'boundaries' course as part of the disciplinary action against him.

The relationship concluded in 2016 and a few months later, the female patient and her husband filed a complaint with the college, said Schollenberg. It's unclear who ended the relationship or why, he said.

"From our point of view, it doesn't matter at all. The conduct is simply unacceptable."

Hanson pleaded guilty to professional misconduct under the Medical Act, following an investigation by the college and discussions among lawyers.

18-month suspension

The maximum penalty doctors can face under the act for any type of professional misconduct is losing their licence to practise.

Hanson's licence has been suspended for 18 months, but the final six months will be "held in abeyance" and be considered probation, provided he meets certain conditions, said Schollenberg.

He must also complete a "professional ethics and boundaries" course.

The one-and-a-half day course, offered by a medical school in London, Ont., is commonly used by regulators across the country to ensure physicians have a clear understanding of what they can and cannot do when it comes to interacting with patients, said Schollenberg.

Hanson has not had any previous boundary or sexual complaints against him, Schollenberg said.

"Based on the facts that we knew, this was the appropriate penalty."