|Dr. Allon Reddoch, Former President of the Canadian Medical Association|
The case of Dr. Allon Reddoch M.D. provides a most interesting look into the inner workings of the Canadian Medical Association.
In 1998, Dr. Reddoch, then president of the Canadian Medical Association, was found guilty of professional misconduct by his peers.
Indeed, a review concluded Dr. Reddoch "failed in all respects to take the normal actions that one would expect of a physician to diagnose and treat a patient with a serious illness."
His ridiculous punishment:
- Dr. Reddoch was fined $5,000;
- Dr. Reddoch was forced to take a clinical-competency course;
- Dr. Reddoch was to suffer a published reprimand.
Following his being found guilt of professional misconduct, Dr. Reddoch remained president of the Canadian Medical Association.
He appealed the verdict of his peers and lost his appeal in August 1999. It is only then, one year after he was found guilty of incompetence/negligence, that Dr. Reddoch resigned from the presidency of the Canadian Medical Association.
But he has continued to practice. In fact, there was no interruption to his medical practice. And his $5,000 fine represents at most three weeks' worth of income.
Imagine the ethics of the Canadian Medical Association. The members, all physicians, knew that their president, Dr. Reddoch, had been found guilty of professional misconduct, [read gross negligence(?)] and did not find that the integrity of the Canadian Medical Association was compromised by the president's misconduct.
Is that the level of ethics that Canadian doctors are capable of?
By all accounts, it is...!
Our conclusion: Canadian physicians and surgeons do not mind being represented by people they find incompetent or negligent.
The following are reprints of National Post articles covering this disgusting display of medical standards. The National Post is Canada's best newspapers.
March 2, 2001
Leading MD negligent in Yukon girl's death: judge
Former CMA President: Nurse cited as well, but bulk of blame assigned to doctor
WHITEHORSE - A local doctor who is a former president of the Canadian Medical Association and a nurse at Whitehorse General Hospital have been found negligent in the death of a teenage girl.
Allon Reddoch was cited in Yukon Supreme Court for not providing an acceptable standard of care to 16-year-old Mary-Ann Grennan, who died of botulism on her birthday, April 26, 1996.
Kelly White, the nurse who last treated Mary-Ann, was found to have failed to report important developments in the girl's condition to a doctor.
Mr. Justice Howard Irving said the greater fault lay with Dr. Reddoch and apportioned two-thirds of the blame to the doctor.
"The patient's condition had been deteriorating and suggestive of a possible primary neurological disorder as a cause for her complaints, none of which was recognized by [Reddoch]," Judge Irving said.
"Dr. Reddoch seemed to be so sure Ms. Grennan's symptoms were psychogenic he failed to consider any differential diagnosis."
Though botulism could not have been expected to be diagnosed, proper attention to the increasing signs of a neurological disorder, whatever it was, could have saved the girl, Judge Irving said.
"I found it puzzling indeed that Dr. Reddoch took such a narrow view of Ms. Grennan's symptoms that he failed to recognize the deterioration in her condition."
Mary-Ann made three visits to the hospital's emergency ward before being admitted on Sept. 9, 1995. Hospital notes indicate she was admitted with gastroenteritis.
Botulism, a form of food poisoning, went undiagnosed during Mary-Ann's hospital stay, when she suffered from respiratory arrest and then fell into a coma before dying eight months later.
However, the final diagnosis before Mary-Ann's respiratory arrest was globus hystericus or inflammation of the throat due to anxiety. Dr. Reddoch then diagnosed an iron deficiency due to dehydration.
He said after the verdict that attention from the court case was becoming too heavy a burden for him and his family.
"I don't think I've done anything wrong," he said.
Dr. Reddoch said he expects an appeal will be filed, although no decision has yet been made. "At this stage, I'm not giving up."
Ms. White, the nurse of duty when Mary-Ann suffered respiratory arrest, is out of the territory and unavailable for comment.
Ron Browne, chief executive officer of Whitehorse General Hospital, said the court decision did not shake the hospital's faith in Ms. White's abilities.
"She is an excellent nurse, and in our view, she tried very hard to figure out for herself what was happening," Mr. Browne said. "Unfortunately, time ran out."
Judge Irving also awarded $143,850 to the Grennan estate, based on calculations of the girl's expected income after living expenses.
Edward Grennan, Mary-Ann's father, said in an interview the award was never an issue.
The decision bodes well for medical care in the territory, he said.
"The one thing about this, I'm hoping and praying, it will wake some people up," he said. "The next time, a child who complains will be believed."
Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/stories/20000909/394588.html
September 9, 2000
Doctors negligent in diagnosis, court told
Girl's death examined
WHITEHORSE - A doctor from White Rock, B.C., yesterday testified that doctors, including Allon Reddoch, the former president of the Canadian Medical Association, failed to take proper steps to diagnose and treat Mary-Ann Grennan, a 16-year-old girl suffering from botulism in 1995.
In a report filed as evidence in Dr. Reddoch's malpractice suit, Paul Assad, a general practitioner and specialist in emergency medicine, said doctors failed to do a neurological examination on the girl that might have revealed she was suffering from double vision or other eye problems, which when considered with some of her other symptoms, might have made a diagnosis of botulism more likely.
Dr. Reddoch and the Whitehorse General Hospital are being sued for malpractice by the girl's father, Ed Grennan, for the potential lost income of the girl, had she not died from brain damage suffered under respiratory arrest caused by the disease. Both defendants are denying negligence.
Dr. Assad also alleged Dr. Reddoch failed to do a differential diagnosis on the girl, and determined without completing a full physical examination that she was suffering from globus hystericus, an anxiety disorder that causes the sensation of having a lump in the throat. He also criticized Dr. Reddoch for prescribing Ativan, a tranquillizer that depresses the respiratory system.
In cross-examination, however, Chris Hinkson, Dr. Reddoch's lawyer, noted there is no evidence on the charts that Ms. Grennan ever complained about her vision to doctors or nurses, and that under treatment, some aspects of her condition were improving.
Dr. Assad also seemed unfamiliar with the facilities available at Whitehorse General Hospital, a small centre without resident specialists that services the town's 25,000 residents. At one point he said Dr. Reddoch should have consulted with an internist about Ms. Grennan's condition, insisting such a specialist worked at the hospital, when in fact none has ever worked there, according to hospital doctors watching in the gallery.
Mr. Hinkson assailed Dr. Assad's credibility, noting he had not worked with a hospital in-patient for 19 years. He also suggested Dr. Assad, rather than acting as an independent expert, was trying to help the plaintiff.
Dr. Assad also conceded doctors do not do differential diagnoses in many cases, and doctors are taught to look for common diseases over rare ones. There had never been a reported case of botulism in the Yukon before Ms. Grennan's, court heard yesterday. There are usually fewer than 10 cases in Canada per year.
Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/stories/20000908/393763.html
September 8, 2000
Test that might have saved girl's life ignored, court hears
Malpractice trial of former president of Canadian Medical Association
WHITEHORSE - Evidence entered yesterday at the malpractice trial of Dr. Allon Reddoch, the former president of the Canadian Medical Association, shows that nurses treating a 16-year-old girl with botulism were confused about her diagnosis and how to treat her.
That confusion appears to have led them to ignore a critical test result on Mary-Ann Grennan's lungs that might have saved her life.
Less than an hour after the low-oxygen saturation reading, botulism paralyzed Ms. Grennan's lungs, stopping her breathing long enough to cause irreparable brain damage.
Although the botulism was cured, she slipped into a coma from which she never recovered.
Her father, Ed Grennan, is suing Dr. Reddoch and the nurses at the hospital for the potential lost income of his daughter, an amount estimated as high as $200,000, claiming their negligence caused her death.
Dr. Reddoch and the Whitehorse General Hospital, the nurses' employer, are denying responsibility for Ms. Grennan's death.
Ms. Grennan went to hospital three times after eating home-smoked pike. Her condition deteriorated from an upset stomach to an inability to swallow, hold her head or move her arms and legs.
Although he did not do a full physical examination or conduct any tests, Dr. Reddoch, her family doctor, ultimately diagnosed the girl with globus hystericus, or anxiety disorder, believing she was upset about the death of her great-grandmother.
Partial transcripts of interviews with nurses show how Ms. Grennan's diagnosis changed over a matter of hours from gastroenteritis to tonsillitis to globus hystericus as different doctors looked after her. She was also diagnosed with anemia at one point.
"I was just confused. I couldn't figure out what was, you know, what am I supposed to be looking at?" Coleen MacDonald, a nurse who was on a shift the night before Ms. Grennan suffered respiratory arrest, said in the case's examination for discovery.
"Is it fair to say every time you brought a doctor in, you got a different diagnosis?" Ms. MacDonald was asked by Robert Gibbens, Mr. Grennan's lawyer. "I don't want to go quite that far, but that would be getting close," she replied.
At the end of Ms. MacDonald's shift, about 15 hours before Ms. Grennan suffered respiratory arrest, Dr. Reddoch diagnosed the teenager with globus hystericus. Ms. Grennan was given Ativan, a respiratory depressant used to treat anxiety, but Alan Macklon, a nurse on duty after Dr. Reddoch's diagnosis, said he did not see her behave in an "overtly anxious" way.
"She did not seem emotionally distraught," Mr. Macklon said.
A third nurse, Kelly White, explained she thought Ms. Grennan's eventual inability to stand up or walk was dramatized because of Dr. Reddoch's diagnosis that her illness was emotional. Following instructions on the girl's chart, she gave her another dose of Ativan.
Less than three hours later, Ms. White took a reading of Ms. Grennan's oxygen saturation, and, although it was as low as 84% -- clearly a signal of respiratory problems -- she did not tell a doctor about the finding, and left the girl alone.
Thirty-seven minutes later, she was found unresponsive in her bed.
Dr. Reddoch testified earlier this week that, had he been summoned after the reading, he could have given her supplemental oxygen and prevented her respiratory arrest.
Patsy Vance, the girl's mother, yesterday described how she watched her daughter deteriorate.
At one point, with difficulty breathing, Ms. Grennan begged her mother not to leave.
"She was scared something was going to happen to her," Ms. Vance related, sobbing. "She asked me, 'Mom, what's wrong with me?' and I couldn't answer her."
Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/stories/20000907/392292.html
September 7, 2000
Dead girl's earning potential in dispute
MD may have to pay teen's father more than $200,000
WHITEHORSE - If Dr. Allon Reddoch, the former president of the Canadian Medical Association, loses his malpractice suit in the botulism death of a 17-year-old girl, he could be required to pay more than $200,000 in damages to her father, according to a forecast by Cara Brown, a Calgary forensic economist.
Ms. Brown's settlement figure is the higher of two being presented to the court. The estimated settlement range was determined by the potential value of Mary-Ann Grennan's estate today had she lived a full life.
Ms. Brown's report was entered as evidence on behalf of Ed Grennan, Mary-Ann's father. The figure is based on statistical information for female Yukon residents with Ms. Grennan's education.
Ms. Grennan died after Dr. Reddoch failed to diagnose botulism, and instead believed she was suffering from anxiety disorder. After the disease paralyzed her ability to breathe, she slipped into a coma from which she never regained consciousness.
Mr. Grennan is suing Dr. Reddoch and the Whitehorse General Hospital for the potential income of his daughter had she lived, claiming their negligence caused Ms. Grennan's death. Both Dr. Reddoch and the hospital, which represents seven nurses identified in the suit, are denying negligence.
If Howard Irving, the deputy Yukon Supreme Court judge hearing the case, sides with Mr. Grennan, he will have to decide how much Ms. Grennan's estate would be worth. Competing economic forecasts by both the plaintiff and the defence range from $180,000 to around $300,000. From those amounts, the judge will have to deduct a percentage that Ms. Grennan would have spent on day-to-day expenses. The plaintiff and defendant's estimates of that deduction range from 35% to 100% of her income, meaning that even if the defendants are found negligent in her death, they may not have to pay any settlement.
If she had died more recently, Mr. Grennan would be unable to make any claim at all, thanks to changes last year in the Yukon Survival of Actions Act. The right of the estate of a dead person to seek the potential income of the dead person was then wiped off the books, bringing the territory in line with most jurisdictions in Canada, which have banned potential income claims where the deceased has no dependents.
Although Dr. Reddoch challenged Mr. Grennan's right to claim the earnings, a judge ruled earlier this year that the law in effect when Ms. Grennan died would be in use for the trial. If Mr. Grennan had lost that challenge, "we wouldn't likely be here today," Robert Gibbens, his lawyer, said yesterday.
Under the new law, Mr. Grennan, ironically, would only be in a position to sue for damages if his daughter had survived, Mr. Gibbens said.
Mr. Grennan spent part of yesterday on the witness stand, answering questions from Chris Hinkson, Dr. Reddoch's lawyer, about his daughter's apparent promiscuity and poor performance at school, which Mr. Hinkson suggested were harbingers for her future career prospects. Although Mr. Grennan testified she was intending to return to school the week after she contracted botulism, she had been expelled the year before for truancy and had failed most of her core subjects since Grade 8.
Mr. Gibbens acknowledged it will not be easy for Judge Irving to place a price tag on the value of Ms. Grennan's potential career earnings. "It's an almost impossible task," he said.
Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/stories/20000906/390789.html
September 6, 2000
Doctor testifies he was not told of girl's worsening condition
Botulism death: Father suing former head of Canadian Medical Association
WHITEHORSE - Dr. Allon Reddoch, the former president of the Canadian Medical Association, told a courtroom yesterday that he might have saved the life of a girl with botulism had nurses told him critical information about her condition.
In September, 1995, Mary-Ann Grennan stopped breathing after botulism paralyzed muscles controlling her lungs. Although she was revived, the 17-year-old had suffered brain damage and fell into a coma from which she never awoke.
Less than hour before she stopped breathing, a nurse found that her lungs were operating at between 84% and 90% of capacity, usually considered a warning of respiratory failure. Patients can be placed on supplemental oxygen or be connected to breathing apparatus while the problem is addressed. "There were things that could have been done," Dr. Reddoch said.
Neither Dr. Reddoch, who lived a two-minute drive from the hospital, nor an attending physician was notified of the finding. Dr. Reddoch was summoned after she stopped breathing.
Dr. Reddoch and the Whitehorse General Hospital, which is responsible for the nurses, are being sued by the Ed Grennan, the girl's father, who claims their negligence is responsible for Ms. Grennan's death. He is seeking damages and recovery of the girl's potential income had she lived. Dr. Reddoch and the hospital deny any negligence.
Yesterday, Mr. Grennan described how his daughter, after eating home-smoked pike, deteriorated over several days from having an upset stomach to an inability to swallow, hold her head up, walk or see properly. He broke down several times while relating the story.
In 1998, Dr. Reddoch was found guilty of professional misconduct after the Yukon Medical Council concluded he had not followed acceptable medical standards in treating the girl. Although she had been diagnosed with food poisoning and had been to hospital three times, Dr. Reddoch, her family physician, attributed her symptoms to an emotional disorder called globus hystericus, believing she was upset over the recent death of a reat-grandmother. He arrived at the diagnosis without conducting a full physical examination, the council, which regulates the 45 physicians in the Yukon, concluded. Dr. Reddoch has appealed the council's decision twice.
His lawyer, Chris Hinkson, said yesterday that Dr. Reddoch's professional reprimand was "irrelevant" to the case, noting it did not address whether Dr. Reddoch could be faulted for not correctly diagnosing botulism, a rare form of food poisoning of which there are usually fewer than 10 cases in Canada each year.
But Robert Gibbens, who is representing Mr. Grennan, said in his opening remarks that Dr. Reddoch, in concluding the girl's illness was psychological, "failed to follow a trail of inquiry" that would have lead to the correct diagnosis, noting that he prescribed Atavan, a drug used to treat anxiety, which is a respiratory depressant.
Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/stories/20000905/389637.html
September 5, 2000
Malpractice suit against former head of doctors' group begins
WHITEHORSE - Dr. Allon Reddoch, a former president of the Canadian Medical Association, begins a malpractice suit today over the death of a 17-year-old girl four years ago.
Mary-Anne Grennan died in April, 1996, eight months after slipping into a botulism-induced coma. The girl had made three trips to the hospital in which she was misdiagnosed -- and nurses believed she was "whining" and "dramatizing" her illness.
Ed Grennan, Mary-Anne's father, is suing Dr. Reddoch, the girl's family doctor, as well as three other physicians, seven nurses and the Whitehorse General Hospital, alleging their negligence caused his daughter's death.
All, including Dr. Reddoch, are denying negligence in the case.
Dr. Reddoch, who has already been found guilty of professional misconduct, continues to practise in the Yukon capital.
He appealed the finding, but lost in August,1999, after which he resigned as CMA president. He has launched another appeal.
The malpractice suit is being heard by a judge from Alberta because all the justices on the Yukon Supreme Court were forced to declare a conflict of interest since they knew one of the parties involved.
Although he has not specified an amount, Mr. Grennan is suing for damages and the lost potential income of his daughter. Dr. Reddoch tried unsuccessfully to have the suit dismissed, but a judge ruled earlier this year that since-amended Yukon legislation allows for the claim. Dr. Reddoch has appealed that decision as well.
Botulism is an extremely rare --and deadly -- form of food poisoning.
Ms. Grennan fell ill Sept. 8, 1995, after eating a large amount of home-pickled pike. On her first trip to the Whitehorse General Hospital with stomach pains, she was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and sent home. Mr. Grennan returned to the hospital with his daughter when her condition did not improve. She was again diagnosed with gastroenteritis, given medication and sent home. Her condition, however, worsened, and she was admitted to hospital.
Dr. Reddoch saw her the following afternoon, writing in her case notes that she was upset about the death of her great-grandmother.
Later that evening, Ms. Grennan was too weak to lift a cup to her mouth.
Nurses on duty believed she was play acting. According to nurses' notes from the case, she was "dramatizing" her illness and "whining."
The following morning, Dr. Reddoch saw her again. He did not do a full physical exam, but he diagnosed her with "globus hystericus," or anxiety disorder. Nurses' notes noted she continued "to act as a rag doll."
That night, she stopped breathing, and, after being resuscitated, lapsed into a coma. She died on April 28, 1996.
In September of that year, Mr. Grennan filed a complaint with the Yukon Medical Council against Dr. Reddoch, and, a year later, he launched the malpractice suit.
Dr. Reddoch was found guilty of professional misconduct in the case, after a review concluded he "failed in all respects to take the normal actions that one would expect of a physician to diagnose and treat a patient with a serious illness." He was fined $5,000, forced to take a clinical-competency course and was to suffer a published reprimand.
However, his lawyer, Chris Hinkson, will argue that the professional reprimand is not relevant in deciding the central issue in the malpractice suit: that his client's treatment of the girl caused her to die.
Mr. Hinkson said he plans to call several experts on botulism to testify to the difficulty in diagnosing and treating the disease, and of the likelihood Ms. Grennan's life could have been saved in any case.
Dr. Reddoch and Mr. Grennan declined interview requests. "It's a tragic case for everyone," Mr. Hinkson said.
Yukon: Bid to dismiss botulism case
June 20, 2000
WHITEHORSE - Lawyers for Whitehorse General Hospital and several doctors and nurses have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the family of a teenaged girl who died of botulism. Defence affidavits filed this month claim Mary-Ann Grennan got proper medical care. Dr. Allon Reddoch, former head of the Canadian Medical Association, and three colleagues are named in the suit filed by the girl's family. It also names seven nurses and the hospital where she died after falling into a coma.