Changes to Orthopaedic Program

Smiths Falls, ON –  On November 26, 2008, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in regard to the court proceedings involving Dr. Smyth’s medical staff privileges at Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital.

In April 2007, the Medical Advisory Committee of the Hospital recommended to the Board of Trustees that it not approve Dr. Smyth’s application for re-appointment to the medical staff of the hospital. The Medical Advisory Committee is a group of twelve physician leaders at the hospital that advises the Board with respect to medical staffing and patient care issues in the hospital. It has a responsibility under the Public Hospitals Act and the hospital bylaws to make recommendations annually to the Board with respect to the granting of medical staff privileges to physicians.

Dr. Smyth wished to challenge the Medical Advisory Committee’s recommendation and the reasons for it. It was agreed by Dr. Smyth, the Medical Advisory Committee and the Board that a full and final determination of his application for privileges would be submitted to arbitration.  On August 28, 2007, the arbitrator, Dr. Peter McLaughlin, upheld the recommendation that Dr. Smyth’s privileges should not be renewed.

Dr. Smyth chose to challenge the decision of the arbitrator, Dr. McLaughlin in the Superior Court of Ontario. On October 11, 2007, Justice Kershman set aside the decision of Dr. McLaughlin on the grounds that he had exceeded his jurisdiction and ordered a new arbitration before a different arbitrator. The Medical Advisory Committee appealed the decision of Justice Kershman to the Ontario Court of Appeal and argued that the decision of Dr. McLaughlin was within the jurisdiction of the arbitration agreement and should be allowed to stand.

On November 26, 2008 the Court of Appeal released a decision that upholds the decision of the arbitrator. It has issued detailed reasons in support of its decision. This means that Dr. Smyth’s application for re-appointment was not granted and he no longer has privileges at the hospital.

The decision speaks for itself and the hospital board is legally required to abide by the decision.  The objective of the Board and the MAC of the hospital is to assist Dr. Smyth in transitioning his practice in a way that is dignified, considerate of his privacy and in the best interests of patient care.

To that end, the Board and MAC of the hospital will be moving quickly to implement the following:

1.                  The hospital is working with Dr. Smyth to assist him in the transition of his practice and to the extent that it is necessary, the referral of his patients to other practitioners who can provide treatment on a timely basis;

2.                  The hospital is working closely with another hospital and the expectation is that it will be able to lend the services of an orthopaedic surgeon to assist the hospital in ensuring that new or referral patients will have timely access to treatment.

3.                  The Board has charged the President & CEO to immediately begin efforts to recruit a full-time orthopaedic surgeon to the hospital.  Dr. Anderson, a long-time orthopaedic surgeon on staff, remains committed to ensuring that the orthopaedic program, and the investments we have made in it, will continue to flourish.

“I would like to provide my assurances that the PSFDH has absolutely no desire to compromise the integrity of our excellent orthopedic program, a program which has served our community extremely well.  In fact, we have enhanced the program during each of the last seven years,”  stated Tim Carter, Chair, Board of Directors.  He added, “I am also pleased to advise that Dr. Paul Anderson will continue to provide orthopedic services to his scheduled patients and will provide any necessary assistance during this transition.”

The Board accepts the decision of the Court of Appeal, the reasons articulated by the Court and has a responsibility to abide by the decision.  This has been a difficult process for everyone including Dr. Smyth.  The Board is hopeful that the hospital and the community can now move forward and focus their efforts on continuing to provide first-class health care services. It wishes Dr. Smyth success in his future endeavors. The Board will continue to place patient care as its highest priority.

For more information contact:
Tim Carter, Chair
Board of Directors
Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital
Via telephone:  613-283-2330 ext. 1129

Great War Memorial Site
33 Drummond Street West
Perth, ON K7H 2K1
Tel: (613) 267-1500
Smiths Falls Site
60 Cornelia Street West
Smiths Falls, ON K7A 2H9
Tel: (613) 283-2330

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