Fredericton psychiatrist suspended by College of Physicians and Surgeons
Five complaints sent to college about Manoj Bhargava's conduct with patients
A Fredericton psychiatrist was suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons on Tuesday after the college received several complaints about him that alleged misconduct toward patients.
Dr. Manoj Bhargava works at Fredericton Addiction and Mental Health, which is part of Horizon Health, and part time at the Student Health Centre at the University of New Brunswick.
Alison Larade began seeing Bhargava as a first-year student at St. Thomas University.
"It definitely was very traumatizing," she said Tuesday.
Allegations that Bhargava has mistreated patients at the Student Health Centre were shared on Instagram and Facebook late last week.
After seeing an anonymous post on the Instagram account @accountabilityatunb Larade decided to share her own story.
"It was very emotional and I came to the conclusion that I wanted to speak out," she said.
Larade said that among other things, the psychiatrist performed physical exams and ask her to remove her bra while he used a stethoscope, saying it could interfere with the results. He said he then groped her breasts. Looking back, she felt she had been "groomed" to accept the behaviour.
Dr. Ed Schollenberg, registrar with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, said that since Thursday the college has received five complaints about Bhargava.
"It looks like this is a more widespread problem than you would see if you had just one complaint. ... Some of these are people who are no longer at UNB, they've moved on and they've heard about this and they're sending their concerns in.
"It's a little troubling in terms of potential magnitude."
Schollenberg said the complaints all describe alleged "improper touching."
"It also seems he was examining everybody in the same way, or at least all the patients we heard from were being examined in the same way."
The College of Physicians and Surgeons continues to investigate the allegations.
More allegations are popping up at @accountabilityatunb.
"There are so many of us who went to him in our most vulnerable state seeking help, almost as our last option, to see a psychiatrist, and to get some form of mental health treatment," Larade said. "And to see that he's taken advantage of so many vulnerable people, and it wasn't just me, is completely heartbreaking."
Larade said she's been speaking and connecting with other women who say they had similar experiences with Bhargava.
She said she has made formal complaints to St. Thomas University, where she is still a student, and the University of New Brunswick.
The universities share the health centre, which UNB operates.
"UNB is not doing enough," said Larade. "I've reached out to the president multiple times … asking the president to speak with him and he's refused."
Larade called for more support from the school's administration.
St. Thomas said it has called on UNB to do a formal investigation into the matter on Monday.
Jeffrey Carleton, associate vice-president, said he still hasn't heard back.
"We just want to make sure there's an adequate response in relation to allegations and if it's alleged misconduct that there be a formal investigation done alongside with what the College of Physicians and Surgeons are doing," Carleton said.
In an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon UNB said it is not able to provide details at this time but it is actively working to address concerns. CBC News was told no one from the school was available for an interview.
Larade said she has also made a formal complaint with the police.