Re: #metooApr 6th, 2019
April 5, 2019
April 5, 2019 10:28 PM EDT
Dr. Jack Stanborough (Toronto Sun files)
Dr. Jack Stanborough has been ordered to work on his bedside manner.
The former regional coroner for Hamilton had his knuckles rapped by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB) for his “paternalistic” and judgmental way in dealing with two female patients who came to him for sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing.
The review board upheld the ruling by a committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons that the family doctor must be cautioned in person about his patient communications “in particular, inappropriate, sexist and judgmental comments to young women who are trying to take responsibility for their sexual health” and undergo a remediation program which includes a course on “understanding boundaries.”
According to the decisions, B.B. (patients’ names are covered by a publication ban) had come to a clinic to receive results of her STD tests. She complained Stanborough asked if she’d been a “naughty girl” and then told her the results were negative and “your wild nights of chasing boys didn’t catch up to you.”
Not surprisingly, B.B. called him on it right away, calling his judgmental attitude “inappropriate.” She said he then touched her arm in a gesture of apology which “she experienced as invasive and violating.”
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B.B. vacillated about filing a complaint but went ahead, she said, to “protect other patients who could possibly be subjected to unwarranted humiliation and hypersexualization, which is never justifiable regardless of their private, consensual sexual behaviour. A doctor’s office should be a bastion against stigmatization.”
Stanborough called her allegations “complete fabrications.” While he tried to lighten the mood to put her at ease, he denied saying anything about being a naughty girl chasing boys or anything else to suggest she was promiscuous.
The college, though, had received several other complaints about this doctor, including an inappropriate comment about a patient’s underwear. Stanborough is “building a history of communication-based complaints, especially with women. Although (he) has denied B.B’s allegations, if true, his comments reveal a sexist and judgmental attitude towards a young woman who was being responsible about her sexual health.”
Stanborough, who said he no longer sees patients in a clinical practice, complained the punishment was excessive and amounted to “gender discrimination.” He also claimed the college was biased against him because he’d been outspoken against the provincial government after he was terminated as regional coroner in 2016.
Stanborough told the CBC at the time that he was “paid to go away” for criticizing government agencies during death inquests.
The review board saw both claims as red herrings.
They reached the same conclusion after the doctor appealed a similar college committee decision against him.
A.A. complained that when she went in to request STD testing after having symptoms with a new sexual partner, Stanborough was “condescending and rude:” He told her she was wasting resources by getting tested too often and his advice was that she should insist on condoms and “only sleep with good fellas.”
She also complained to the college: “Overall, I am horrified by my experience with this doctor as I see nothing wrong with being a young individual getting STI testing after having sex with a new partner, especially since I had noticed a symptom that gave me cause for concern.”
The college committee investigating her complaint found Stanborough’s attitude was demeaning and paternalistic and, together with the previous complaint, a “troubling pattern” in his interactions with female patients.
Once again, the doctor of 30 years claimed gender discrimination and a witch hunt against him. The review board found otherwise — so remedial training and a caution has been prescribed for the offending doc.
Stanborough hadn’t yet heard of the decision when reached by the Toronto Sun. “That’s disappointing,” he said while declining further comment.
But when asked about his contention at the hearing that he was the subject of a vendetta, he said, “that’s the least of it.”