Nova Scotia

Cleared of wrongdoing, cancer expert calls for inquiry

A Halifax doctor wrongfully accused of endangering patients is calling for a public inquiry into his 6½-year suspension from practising cancer medicine.

A Halifax doctor wrongfully accused of endangering patients is calling for a public inquiry into his 6½-year suspension from practising cancer medicine.

A review board recently cleared Dr. Michael Goodyear of all allegations of wrongdoing.

"The old saying in life is you can't fight city hall. But occasionally Erin Brockovichs come along, and they do," Goodyear told CBC News in his first interview since his vindication.

In 2002, Goodyear was treating cancer patients at the QEII Health Sciences Centre and was a researcher at Dalhousie medical school when a colleague complained about his choice of drugs and therapies.

Goodyear's supervisor filed an official complaint with the hospital, claiming Goodyear was endangering the safety of his patients. The hospital suspended his privileges pending an investigation.

That investigation process was supposed to take 40 days. Instead, it lasted 6½ years.

Goodyear was allowed to keep teaching at Dalhousie, but it was only a fraction of his former duties. His financial problems grew over the years. His house is under the control of a bankruptcy trustee and he sometimes wears hand-me-down clothes from former patients.

Goodyear could have left to work somewhere else, but he said he wanted to keep fighting a system he believed was unfair to all health employees.

"I'm destroying my own life and my family's. I'm doing it for the rest of you, because somebody has to stand up to the process," he said.

Board sides with specialist

Two weeks ago, a review board of the Capital District Health Authority (CDHA) ruled all allegations against Goodyear were groundless. The board recommended he get his job back.

But Goodyear wants a wider public discussion of what went wrong with the process.

"I'm prepared to go as far as asking for an inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act. This is a publicly funded institution. Everyone in this community has this feeling that there's an accountability issue here," he said.

Goodyear said he could be entitled to a multimillion-dollar settlement, including awards for lost wages, lost promotions and mental anguish.

"I'm not campaigning about that, but those are issues that I think those in charge will need to consider," he said.

Dr. Brendan Carr, vice-president of medicine for the CDHA, said he can't speak about financial compensation, but said Goodyear can soon begin the process of restoring his medical credentials and resuming his role as a cancer researcher and healer.