Disgraced dentist turned foot doctor could be deemed 'incompetent' for 2nd time
'With respect to protecting the public, it was an abysmal failure,' former patient says
A banned dentist-turned-foot-doctor could be deemed "incompetent" for the second time and will — again — face a disciplinary committee.
The College of Chiropodists of Ontario took nearly three times longer than usual to investigate patient complaints and make the decision.
Ottawa-based Pierre Dupont became the focus of a Go Public/Radio-Canada investigation for inserting experimental medical implants during surgery, leaving patients like Erika Brathwaite with severe repercussions.
"I was relieved. I felt very vindicated," Brathwaite told Go Public after learning about the discipline hearing.
Her former chiropodist could face sanctions ranging from being ordered to take classes on professional conduct, being placed under supervision, to losing his licence for life.
Brathwaite went to see Pierre Dupont in August 2015 for a problem with flat feet. She contacted Go Public about problems healing after he inserted implants. She says she's now worse off than she was before seeing Dupont.
"Finally, this guy is on the road to getting some kind of suspension or consequence for what he has done," Brathwaite said.
TheCollegewas kind of taking their time. They didn't really take these allegations seriously.- Erika Brathwaite
Brathwaite filed her complaint against Dupont on Nov. 30, 2015, but said it wasn't taken seriously until Go Public and Radio-Canada started investigating the controversial foot specialist in April.
"I think that that is absolutely ridiculous, especially since we're dealing with somebody that actually did have a history of professional misconduct," she said.
"I wasn't the only one that submitted a complaint ... I really felt that the College was kind of taking their time … I was really disappointed by that."
In the end, the College of Chiropodists of Ontario — which has a mandate to protect the public — used five extensions to investigate the patient complaints and come to the decision. According to its website, the College aims to resolve complaints in 150 days.
"With respect to protecting the public, it was an abysmal failure," Brathwaite said.
"Frankly, my opinion is that my complaint would have gone absolutely nowhere. It would have basically just got lost in the shuffle. I really don't think I would have had any result at all had the media not been involved."
'Incompetent' to practice, alleges College
According to the statement of allegations filed by the College, Dupont is accused of using unapproved implants without patients' knowledge or consent, failing to keep adequate records, doing work that is out of his scope of practice and more.
The College alleges Dupont is "incompetent" based on health-care codes of conduct and regulations.
Dupont was on the College of Chiropodists' radar when he moved to Ontario. The College knew he had been stripped of his dental licence in Quebec in 2005 after a patient stopped breathing in his dental chair and later died.
After retraining as a foot specialist, the College allowed him back into the medical field without warning the public.
It won't say why Dupont was allowed to return to health care, but in the past registrar Felecia Smith told Go Public the College "takes its duty to protect the public interest seriously."
Unapproved implants made in machine shop
Until we told them, neither the College of Chiropodists of Ontario nor Health Canada knew about the unapproved implants.
The Go Public/Radio-Canada investigation found Dupont was charging some patients thousands of dollars for medically approved implants for flat feet, but using devices he designed himself during surgery without their knowledge.
Go Public also found Dupont got those implants made at a machine shop not approved to make medical devices.
Some of the patients who got the unapproved implants are as young as eight years old and many were left in pain and unable to walk properly.
Some of those patients are now paying thousands more to get the unapproved implants removed.
'Effort to assist'
When we contacted Dupont to ask him about his pending disciplinary hearing, he didn't respond.
"I have advised Dr. Dupont that the appropriate forum for answering inquiries is the court," Nigel Trevethan, a partner at Vancouver law firm Harper Grey LLP, wrote in an email to CBC News in September.
"That being said I can advise that Dr. Dupont's motivation at all times was the well-being of his patients and everything that has been done was in an effort to assist their medical situation," he wrote.
The date for Pierre Dupont's disciplinary hearing will be set in the new year.
- Foot specialist used experimental implants unapproved for surgery on unsuspecting patients
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- An earlier version of this story said Pierre Dupont has been deemed "incompetent" by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. In fact, the College is alleging Dupont is incompetent in his role as a chiropodist. The disciplinary committee will determine if that is the case in a hearing scheduled for March 22nd.Jan 03, 2017 6:07 PM ET
With files from Francois Dallaire and Manjula Dufresne