'Incompetent' London doctor removed patient's ovary without consent

Dr. Cathy Frank removed, without consent, the only remaining ovary of a woman whodid not learn it had been removed until years later, that finding one of many that led an Ontario regulatory college to take away the London physician’s licence for two years.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which in February found Frank had been incompetent and committed professional misconduct, has now published a written decision behind Frank’s two-year suspension, laying out in detail its findings after investigating more than 30 complaints filed against Frank between 2009 and 2012 - writes lfpress.com

A disciplinary committee of the college concluded that Frank, a fertility doctor in London who once was head of gynecology and obstetrics at St. Thomas Elgin Hosital, had failed to:

  • Adequately investigate causes of patients’ symptoms prior to deciding on surgery.
  • Obtain informed consent before performing surgeries or procedures.
  • Document informed consent and the way she conducted surgery.
  • Perform surgeries and procedures consistent with the standards of practice.
  • Adequately monitor and assess post-operative patients, including those exhibiting symptoms of complications.

“Dr. Cathy Frank committed an act of professional misconduct, in that she has failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession. The Committee also found that Dr. Frank was incompetent in her professional care of 24 patients,” the college’s disciplinary committee concluded.

The Free Press sought comment from Frank, but she has not responded to messages sent to her on the employment networking website LinkedIn.

The regulatory college has outlined future restrictions and obligations on Frank should she seek to resume her practice in 2020:

  • Perform ultrasound-guided procedures only in a clinic belonging to a clinical supervisor and where a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist are there to intervene if required.
  • Limit her practice to reproductive endocrinology and infertility, office-based gynecology and obstetrical care before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Undergo a reassessment of her practice by someone appointed by the college within six months, who can impose further restrictions.
  • Practise only in a group setting approved by the college.
  • Submit to unannounced inspections.
  • Pay $10,180 within 30 days to cover costs related to the proceedings against her.

Frank previously agreed to restrict her practice as a gynecologist, including not using or interpreting ultrasound, a diagnostic tool found in fertility clinics. She agreed to stop practising medicine temporarily in 2013, then resumed working in the Southern Ontario Fertility Technologies, or S.O.F.T. clinic for short, owned by her husband, James Martin, who himself was later disciplined by the college.

Read more news of London on our site.

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