Nigerian doctor suspended in Canada for hugging colleague

A Canada-based Nigerian doctor has been suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta Tribunal for getting intimate with his colleague at work.

The medical doctor identified as Efe Ovueni was suspended for three months over unprofessional conduct by hugging and blowing a kiss at her co-worker without her consent.

Ovueni was also fined $3,000 and is liable for the undisclosed cost of the hearing and investigation. With the fine and suspension which takes immediate effect, Ovueni has been banned from medical practice for over 90 days.

The suspension was announced on Thursday following a hearing by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) tribunal — the hearing was concluded in December 2021.

The doctor was found to have committed the offence on January 21, 2020.

The doctor admitted his unprofessional conduct during the tribunal hearing, promising to turn a new leaf.

“Ovueni’s practice permit shall be suspended for a period of three months, with two weeks to be served on dates acceptable to the Complaints Director and completed within six months of the date the Hearing Tribunal issues its written decision and 2.5 months held in abeyance on the condition that no further boundary concerns come to the attention of the Complaints Director and are referred to an investigation for a period of five years after the date the Hearing Tribunal issues its written decision,” the tribunal held.

The tribunal also said that the doctor’s actions did not meet the criteria for sexual misconduct under the Health Professions Act since the victim was a member of staff and not a patient.

“Rather, this was a case of a boundary violation between a physician and a co-worker, demonstrating unprofessional conduct that was wholly unacceptable,” the tribunal’s report added.

Continuing, the tribunal report read, “If further boundary concerns come to the attention of the Complaints Director and are referred to an investigation within five years from the date the Hearing Tribunal issues its written decision, the Complaints Director shall be at liberty to impose the remaining 2.5 months suspension on Dr. Ovueni’s practice permit.

“If no further boundary concerns come to the attention of the Complaints Director and are referred to an investigation within five years from the date the Hearing Tribunal issues its written decision, the remaining 2.5-month suspension shall expire.”

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