Springdale doctor gets hospital privileges reinstated, pledges to keep clinic open

Dr. Todd Young had threatened to close his practice as a battle with Central Health dragged on over years.
Dr. Todd Young had told his patients he would close his Main Street Medical Clinic on Oct. 9. (CBC)

A Springdale doctor who's been battling with Central Health for years says he will now keep his medical clinic open — now that the health authority has decided to reinstate his hospital privileges.

Dr. Todd Young says he was told Thursday that Central Health has decided to allow him to work inside the Green Bay Health Centre, more than two years after he was sanctioned for several incidents involving patients.

"I was quite elated, of course, to find that out," he said. 

"This is a good day for patients."

A spokesperson for Central Health confirmed that Louise Jones, the health authority's interim president, accepted a recommendation to reinstate his admitting privileges, which will allow him to work in the hospital.

"Dr. Young has been appointed to the medical staff in the associate category. This appointment is effective following his completion of a brief orientation to the Green Bay Health Centre and Central Health," wrote Gaitane Villeneuve in an email to CBC​. 

"Like all RHA employees and credentialed physicians, Dr. Young will be subject to the policies and procedures of Central Health."

Protesters who demanded the reinstatement of Todd Young talk to Health Minister John Haggie at the hospital announcement in July. Young and his supporters asked Haggie to personally intervene in the decision, but Haggie said it would be inappropriate. (Garrett Barry.CBC)

The decision brings an end to a years-long battle between the health authority and the physician, which prompted lawsuits and protests in Springdale.

Newfoundland and Labrador's College of Physicians and Surgeons suspended Young for 19 months after he admitted to a three-year sexual relationship with a patient.

Young served the suspension, but was denied privileges by Central Health when he applied to have them reinstated. That led to multiple lawsuits and court challenges.

Young said Thursday that his relationship "wasn't really" the issue that led to his suspension, explaining "it was a very complicated time in my life."

"Lots of personal things, and I don't really want to discuss that here, but you know what? I'm healthier now than I've ever been, I'm enjoying my professional life like I've never enjoyed it before," he said. 

"I have no issue at all or problem or any hesitancy, I should say, in moving forward working with the other physicians in Springdale. I've always been respectful of the rules."

Protesters line up outside of a government announcement at the Springdale hospital in July. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Residents in the Springdale area are celebrating the news, according to Janice Walsh, one of the people who helped organize protests against Central Health in support of Young.

"As I've said many times, my dad's not well and that's his family doctor," Walsh said. 

"So this gives me a lot of relief, just to be able to say to him 'you're keeping your doctor.'"

This gives me a lot of relief.- Janice Walsh

Young had threatened to close his medical clinic, arguing it was untenable to be a practicing family doctor without the ability to see patients in hospital.

"I think it's common, almost an expectation, I think, from the public, based on tradition, that family physicians would also take care of inpatients." 

"In our community, some people want to die at home, some people want to pass away and to have their final days with their loved ones while in hospital. And for two years now, I haven't been able to do that."

About the Author

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter based in Gander.