Rajinder Singh Sekhon did not contest CPSO’s finding that he is incompetent and failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession.
(By Toronto Star)
Rajinder Singh Sekhon’s actions as a physician were so egregious that a discipline panel of Ontario’s medical watchdog said it regretted that it could only revoke his licence once, and not multiple times.
“For such is the abhorrence the committee feels for the disgrace you have been to the profession of medicine,” panel chair Dr. Peeter Poldre told the Ajax doctor on Wednesday, after he was stripped of his licence at a discipline hearing at the Toronto headquarters of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).
Sekhon pleaded no contest, meaning he was not admitting guilt, but did not contest the facts presented by the college’s lawyer, including that he sexually abused and harassed patients, inappropriately prescribed narcotics and obstructed the college’s investigation on numerous occasions.
He also did not contest the college’s finding that he is incompetent and failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession.
“The committee is outraged by your long history of predatory behaviour in seeking sexual gratification from those who held you in a position of trust and power. You shockingly abused that power,” Poldre told Sekhon, who silently stood in front of the five-member panel.
“Your manipulation of narcotic prescribing to advance your sexual needs and your own drug-seeking and to garner personal financial gain is outrageous beyond belief.”
Sekhon, who had already resigned this summer, did not address the panel. His lawyer, Andrea Plumb, declined to comment afterward.
Both Plumb and college lawyer Morgana Kellythorne agreed on the penalty for Sekhon, which not only included revocation of his licence, but also that he pay $5,000 for the cost of the one-day hearing and present a letter of credit to the college for more than $80,000 to cover the therapy costs of the five patients he was found to have sexually abused.
“Dr. Sekhon has violated profoundly the fundamental tenets of ‘Do no harm,’” Kellythorne told the panel. “Through his conduct, he has shown himself to be ungovernable and betrayed his own profession.”
Sekhon’s misconduct stretched out over a number of years.
In the case of Patient D, whom he later dated and lived with for about two years, Sekhon provided a number of narcotics, including Oxycontin, Dilaudid, Demerol, Percocet and Fentanyl patches, according to a statement of uncontested facts filed at the disciplinary hearing.
He would supply these drugs in amounts of his choosing without actually writing prescriptions for her, according to the statement. He would also use the drugs himself and give and sell them to others.
In one instance, Patient D was with Sekhon at a hotel when she overdosed on Percocet that he had given her, according to the statement. But at the hospital, she followed Sekhon’s order to lie about what happened and said she had taken an unknown pill at a party.
On another occasion, “Dr. Sekhon tied Patient D to her bed, injected her with Demerol, and had sexual intercourse with her against her will while she remained tied to the bed,” Kellythorne told the panel.
According to Durham Regional Police, Sekhon has not been charged with a crime.
When a discipline panel makes a finding “related to any matter that raises issues of physician criminal actions,” the panel will file a report with the police, but will redact the complainant’s name if she or he does not give consent, said CPSO spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke.
She said the CPSO also suggests to the complainant that they may wish to file a report with the police themselves and that the college will assist the complainant in doing so.
Following Sekhon’s breakup with Patient D, he visited her and took two of her Fentanyl patches for himself. The woman provided college investigators with a photo of Sekhon, naked on her bed, with the patches applied to his buttocks.
The statement of uncontested facts demonstrates the great lengths Sekhon went to obstruct the college’s investigation and his attempts to threaten Patient D and her family. This included:
A threat to have her “red flagged” as a drug addict with hospitals.
Requiring Patient D to send the college a letter in October 2012 saying “Raj Sekhon never raped me or even gave me drugs!!”
Paying a lawyer to send a letter to the college indicating that Patient D was retracting her allegations;
Forcing Patient D to file a false complaint about a doctor identified only as Dr. Z, alleging that he had sexually abused her and provided her with narcotics. Sekhon “sought to retaliate” against Dr. Z, who had reported to the college allegations of sexual abuse of Patient D by Sekhon after she became Dr. Z’s patient.
This was another point addressed by the committee in its reprimand.
“The committee struggles to find words strong enough to describe your behaviour. The committee is disgusted by the number of individuals that you harmed and the multiplicity of ways in which you did so,” Poldre said.
“In the face of your regulator’s efforts, you embarked upon obstruction using harassment and threats toward the very patients you were abusing.”
Other instances of misconduct include:
“Very brief” documentation regarding one patient, who was sent to hospital unresponsive the day after his appointment with Sekhon and subsequently died. His condition is not disclosed in the statement of uncontested facts.
Making sexualized comments to his former office manager — who was also, for a time, his patient — that included: “Big breasts, love to hold them,” “New jeans — your ass looks good in them” and “Does Dr. Sekhon need to spank you?” He also referred to a Kim Kardashian photo when he asked the woman, known as Patient E, to send him a picture of her own oiled buttocks. She asked him to stop his behaviour and later quit the job.
Sekhon then filed a police report against Patient E, falsely alleging she had defrauded him. Police declined to press charges against her.
Asking another employee/patient, known as Patient F, to accompany him when he was conducting a Pap smear, telling her to “come and look at pussy” with him.
Referring to a Grade 11 student who he hired on part-time basis as “the bitch,” asking her if she would dance if he put on music and having her “tuck him in” with a blanket when he had his usual nap on the examination table.
The girl was fired after she expressed her concerns to the office manager, Patient E.
Fondled the breasts of Patient H, who he knew was addicted to narcotics, and told her — while he had an erection — that she could get any man she wanted. He also “sexualized” his examination of her rectum by leaning in and telling her she was a beautiful person.
Suggesting to Patient K, who was addicted to Oxycontin, that he should become a medical marijuana user and sell some of the marijuana and split the proceeds with Sekhon.
Of all the victims included in the statement of uncontested facts, only Patient H submitted a victim impact statement, which was read by the college’s lawyer. She wrote of how it took her years to trust her psychiatrist and family doctor and how she would relive the sexual abuse in her nightmares.
“I trusted you to take care of me, to make decisions always in my best interest,” she said. “Instead, you took advantage of me for your own personal pleasure. You are a monster. You should never be allowed to provide medical care to any women ever again. You use your medical practice to prey on vulnerable women, feeding them narcotics until they become addicted to the drugs.”
She accused him of never helping her when she confided that she was addicted to narcotics and of prescribing a sleeping pill even though he knew she had a drinking problem.
Patient H said she overdosed with her young children in bed with her, and that if it was not for one of her children going to the neighbour’s house, she would have died.
She wrote of the breakdown in her relationship, the loss of her job and being barred from contacting her young children, and of how she contemplated suicide.
“The pain became so great I carved ‘I hate you’ in my leg with a razor blade, desperate not to feel the emotional pain.”
Patient H is now employed, sees her children and helps other women who have been through similar situations. Despite everything, she said she forgives Sekhon.
“See, I had to find a way to forgive, the anger and pain I carried was eating my soul alive like a cancer,” she said. “I will pray for you that God gives you the strength to overcome your own personal addiction.”