Ottawa

Doctor charged with murder after multiple deaths at Hawkesbury, Ont., hospital

A doctor was charged Friday with first-degree murder as part of a police investigation into multiple suspicious deaths at Hawkesbury and District General Hospital in eastern Ontario, near the border with Quebec.

Brian Nadler, charged with 1 count of 1st degree murder, 'maintains his innocence,' lawyer says

Brian Nadler, photographed here in the Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta's spring 2013 issue, has been charged with first-degree murder after multiple suspicious deaths at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, say OPP. (Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta)

A doctor has been charged with first-degree murder as police investigate multiple suspicious deaths at the eastern Ontario hospital where he works.

Ontario Provincial Police were called to the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, which is between Ottawa and Montreal, on Thursday evening, police said in a news release.

At a court appearance on Friday, Brian Nadler, 35, who lives in the western Montreal suburb of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, was charged with one count of first-degree murder.

"Dr. Nadler maintains his innocence and the charges will be rigorously defended," Ottawa defence lawyer Alan Brass told CBC News.

Police were called to the hospital, which is between Ottawa and Montreal, on Thursday evening, and cruisers were still there into Friday morning. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada)

His next court appearance is scheduled for April 6.

Police didn't say how long the investigation has been going on or how many deaths are being investigated. Ontario's Office of the Chief Coroner is involved, it confirmed in an email.

"At this point in time, while we don't know exactly how big this investigation will be, we are looking at other suspicious deaths that have occurred recently at the Hawkesbury hospital," said OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson.

"Whether it proves that they are indeed something criminal or not, we will have to wait and see."

He encouraged anyone with information to contact the local detachment.

"We promise we'll conduct a complete and thorough investigation that you deserve to make sure that you in the Hawkesbury area and everyone else gets the answers," Dickson said.

(CBC)

The hospital said in a statement that all patient services are being maintained and all appointments are being kept.

"We want to reassure our patients, their families and the community at large that the hospital site is safe," the statement said.

The hospital said it is working with police and is in touch with the families that have been affected. It's also offering counselling and other services to its staff.

The hospital has also been dealing with two active COVID-19 outbreaks.

Ties to Saskatchewan, Alberta

Nadler has been licensed in Ontario since Feb. 4, 2020. He graduated from Montreal's McGill University in 2010, then went to the University of Alberta for surgery and internal medicine until 2014, according to an online database listing his post-graduate training.

He was a resident at the University of Saskatchewan's medical school from July 2014 to September 2018, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan told CBC in an email.

During that time, he faced two unprofessional conduct charges, the college said.

Documents show one charge was for allegedly calling a female colleague a "bitch" after an argument and telling someone else he "felt like slapping" that colleague. Another charge involved patient record-keeping.

The incidents linked to both charges allegedly occurred the same day in August 2014.

The college said he apologized and took a pair of courses about ethics and record-keeping. It did not proceed any further with the charges.

From Sept. 24, 2018, to Sept. 23, 2019, Nadler worked as a geriatric fellow at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, the university confirmed in an email.

WATCH | Hawkesbury mayor urges calm: 

Doctor charged with first-degree murder as police investigate deaths at Hawkesbury hospital

CBC News Ottawa

3 months ago
0:30
Paula Assaly, mayor of Hawkesbury, says the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital remains open as provincial police investigate several suspicious deaths there. Police have charged a doctor with one count of first-degree murder. 0:30

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, which regulates and investigates doctors, said in a statement it will immediately look into "these extraordinarily disturbing allegations."

Mayor Paula Assaly asked people to remain calm and not be afraid of seeking care at Hawkesbury and District General Hospital.

She also said she didn't know the accused.

With files from CBC's Sarah Kester, Joseph Tunney and Nicole Williams

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