Doctor calls for screening of potential domestic abuse

She was a mother, a friend, and a doctor. The shocking murder of Elana Fric in Toronto has re-ignited calls for medical professionals to screen patients for signs of domestic abuse.
Dr. Elana Fric was a family doctor in Scarborough, Ont. and a mother of three. (Twitter)
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On Dec. 1, Dr. Elana Fric's body was found, only one day after she was reported missing.

Police say she died from strangulation and blunt-force trauma. Her husband Dr. Mohammed Shamji has been charged with first-degree murder. 

Now some in the medical community are calling for hospitals and doctors to start routinely screening patients for intimate partner violence — a practice that already happens in parts of the country, and in the U.S.

About every six days, a Canadian woman is killed by her intimate partner, according to theCanadian Women's Foundation.

In my case it made me really wonder whether there wasn't something more that I could have been doing all along. Was there something that I missed in the past in patients of mine?- Dr. Sohaib Gandhi

Dr. Sohaib Gandhi wants screening for signs of domestic abuse to be the norm and tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti how the horrific murder of Dr. Fric made him question if he could be doing a better job looking out for his patients.

"In my case it made me really wonder whether there wasn't something more that I could have been doing all along. Was there something that I missed in the past in patients of mine?"

Dr. Gandhi is part of The Georgian Bay family health team in Collingwood, and they routinely screen for various illnesses with an electronic medical records system.

Electronic reminder

"If you were to come to my office and you had a sore foot ... we have a screening program built into our records that would flag if you were overdue for certain tests like a mammogram," Dr. Gandhi explains.

He tells Tremonti that he is working on building the same kind of electronic reminder that prompts asking about domestic abuse.

Toronto neurosurgeon Dr. Mohammed Shamji has been charged with first-degree murder after his wife, Elana Fric, 40, was found in a suitcase in Vaughan, Ont. (Toronto Police Service)

"If someone came in with an unrelated problem but it was just time to ask that question and say ... to our patients because you know violence against women is [an] endemic problem, we routinely ask ...  the question about whether they're in an abusive relationship."

Listen to the full segment near the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese and Shannon Higgins.