Alberni doctors ordered to pay $180,000 in damages for defaming colleague
A trio of Alberni doctors is being forced to pay a total of $180,000 in damages to a colleague after the Supreme Court ruled that they defamed him.
In her ruling, Madam Justice Deborah Kloegman ordered that Dr. Shane Longman, his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Hankins and fellow physician Dr. Akushla Wijay pay $50,000 each in general damages and $10,000 each in aggravated damages to Dr. Magdy Fouad.
The group leveled what the court determined were unfounded accusations against Fouad.
Kloegman also noted that Wijay breached Fouad's privacy and assisted with defaming him in front of West Coast General Hospital staff.
The defending doctors were competent physicians and well-liked by their patients, Kloegman noted. “However, their uncollegial conduct, as relatively novice doctors, towards a newcomer who had much to offer them in the way of special skill and experience, is inexcusable.”
Fouad moved to Port Alberni in 2009 and according to the ruling was the object of immediate scorn by the three. “From a very early stage the defendants questioned his competency and were openly disrespectful to him.”
Fouad studied medicine in Cairo, Egypt then spent five years in the UK specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, and was a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He received two years’ post-speciality training in gynecological urology. He moved to Canada in 1990 and was the department head for obstetrics and gynecology at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, until 2009.
In April 2010, Fouad wrote to VIHA Chairman of Family Practice and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and complained about unprofessional behaviour of Longman, Hankins and Wijay.
Hankins and Wijay requested that the college conduct a formal review of the professional conduct and patient care of Fouad, even advising that they had a list of cases that concerned them.
The college carried out a review and in May 2011 concluded that the Fouad “met the standard of care applicable in British Columbia,” the ruling noted.
The college found merit in Fouad's complaint against Longman and Wijay. The college ordered a remedial review in both cases.
The matter between the three carried on in 2011 and 2012 in incidents the ruling described as being “allowed to run rampant throughout WCGH and Port Alberni.”
In 2011, Fouad's lawyer asked the three for an apology. None was produced so court action was commenced.