Nova Scotia

RCMP investigate suspended doctor's drug use

RCMP in Nova Scotia are investigating the case of a Nova Scotia doctor who used a patient to get a narcotic drug for her personal use.
Dr. Violet Hawes is under RCMP investigation. ((CBC))
RCMP in Nova Scotia are investigating the case of a Nova Scotia doctor who used a patient to get a narcotic drug for her personal use.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Scott MacRae said there is an open and active investigation into Dr. Violet Hawes, the Middle Musquodoboit family doctor who has admitted to improperly prescribing narcotics.

"We still have an open investigation. I cannot tell you more than that," MacRae told CBC News. "I cannot get into any details. It is an active investigation."

On Monday, Hawes admitted to misconduct in a settlement released by the College of of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.

The college will allow Hawes to return to practice after a two-year suspension, if she fulfils a number conditions.

Between 2007 and 2009, Hawes prescribed a narcotic to a patient and then requested the patient turn some of the drugs over to her for her own use.

Doug Carpenter, 49, took his life in the parking lot of the Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital in December 2009.

He left a note for his family saying "Dr. Hawes did this to me."

According to Carpenter's medical records, Hawes prescribed him Hydromorph Contin — a narcotic — for the first time in January 2008.

In the settlement, Hawes admitted she was addicted to narcotics, alcohol and gambling and she was ordered to undergo counselling.

The college said Hawes will be allowed to return to practice on a "graduated basis" and must have another doctor present to monitor her actions.

Phyllis Carpenter is not happy with the punishment meted out to Dr. Violet Hawes. ((CBC))
She must also attend the next available physician-patient boundaries course from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Hawes must pay $10,000 toward the college's costs for the hearing into her case.

Carpenter's mother, Phyllis, was not impressed with the outcome of the case.

"Ten thousand dollars for a man's life?" she said Monday. "It's not adequate. In my opinion, if she was a good doctor she would have known that she was in trouble and she would have seeked help for herself."

 In 1995, Hawes was found guilty of professional misconduct for having sexual relations with two patients between 1991 and 1993. A private hearing was held and, at the time, the college decided there was no need to suspend her licence.