Dr. Robert Wadden, Halifax family doctor, suspended for 6 months

A family doctor in Halifax has had his medical licence suspended for six months after admitting to professional misconduct with a female patient during a pap test last year.

Patient filed complaint about misconduct during pap examination in 2014

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia released a decision Thursday on the conduct of Dr. Robert Wadden. (The Hair Clinic)

A family doctor in Halifax has had his medical licence suspended for six months after admitting to professional misconduct with a female patient during a pap test last year.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia released a decision by an investigation committee on Thursday. Dr. Robert Wadden will serve the six-month suspension in two, three-month intervals before May 30, 2016. 

Patient X, as she is called in the disciplinary decision, had been a patient of Wadden's for more than 15 years. Wadden also does hair transplants. 

In 2014, she made an appointment for a pap examination, during which she said Wadden acted and spoke inappropriately. A month later, Patient X returned to Wadden's office to get paperwork signed. She recorded audio without his knowledge as she confronted him about what had happened. 

"The audio recording indicates that Dr. Wadden made a number of apologetic comments to Patient X," the decision says. 

"Dr. Wadden says these apologetic comments related to angry comments he made to Patient X during the earlier appointment, after, according to him, she had falsely accused him of inappropriate actions." 

After hearing both sides at a meeting in June 2014, the College "noted there were two very different descriptions of the medical appointment." 

'Inappropriate pelvic examination'

The decision says Wadden admitted to an "inappropriate pelvic examination" and misconduct.

"This is an extremely serious matter," Dr. Gus Grant, CEO of the college, said in an interview with CBC News. "Dr. Wadden's professional record will permanently reflect that he's been reprimanded for this and will reflect the admissions he makes in the decision." 

The recorded audio was crucial to the case, Grant says.

"It was something that allowed the committees and the college to consider and reflect. It took the disposition of this matter beyond the realm of simply he said, she said." 

Grant says there hasn't been a case like this during his tenure since Dr. Oluwarotimi Fashoranti, whose licence was suspended under "similar circumstances." 

Wadden must attend a course in London, Ont. called: "Understanding Boundaries and Managing the Risks Inherent in the Doctor-Patient Relationship." 

In addition to paying a contribution toward the College's costs during the review, Wadden will be permanently required to have an attendant present when seeing any female patients. 

Wadden, who has been practicing medicine since 1992, had no previous history of misconduct.