Gynecologist who made sexual comment should be banned for seven years, fined $12,500, council hears | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A gynecologist who said “thank you for the good time” to a woman immediately after performing a vaginal exam should be suspended for seven years and fined $12,500, a disciplinary committee heard Monday.

“When you treat the woman as a spectacle and you say ‘thank you for the good time’ when her vagina is exposed, what a lack of respect for the patient,” Leslie Azer, a lawyer representing the Collège des médecins du Québec’s investigator, told a hearing that is to decide on the penalty Dr. Allan Climan should face.

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“It’s degrading, it’s humiliating, it’s embarrassing. Whether the patient heard it or not, (the doctor) said it and it’s unacceptable. Objectively, it has an impact on the profession and the public’s perception of the profession.”

The Collège’s disciplinary council in January found Climan guilty of making an inappropriate sexual remark (his second such offence), of failing to abide by an order to have a woman present while examining patients, and of not updating the patient’s file. He had previously been warned about not filling out patient charts.

The Collège temporarily revoked Climan’s license in July 2022.

From 1989 to 2020, Climan — who has been a doctor since 1981 — was the subject of 11 previous disciplinary investigations, according to the council. Five of them concerned “abusive remarks of a sexual nature.”

In 2019, Climan was fined $2,500 and stripped of his licence for two years for making “vulgar and inappropriate” sexual remarks. He was accused of telling a patient: “You have a great little body, I can’t wait to examine you and I’m sure you have a beautiful vagina.”

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When he returned to work, he was under orders to have a female chaperone present when examining patients.

On Monday, Azer described Climan as an unrepentant repeat offender “who presents no possibility of rehabilitation, period.”

He shows no signs of “introspection or self-criticism … and has no respect for his professional order, for his establishment, for his patients, for his colleagues, for anybody who imposes rules on him,” she added.

Climan’s lawyer, Christine Kark, argued her client should be suspended for one year and be fined $5,000.

Kark said the suspension being suggested by the lawyer for the investigator is excessive.

“Dr. Climan is not a sexual predator,” Kark said.

He has changed, she said, adding he “deserves a chance.”

She noted the patient in question said Climan never said anything inappropriate.

Climan has said it wasn’t a sexual comment. In previous testimony, he said he made the uttered the words after he realized the patient had “the biggest pelvis I have ever seen.” That appeared to show the woman was not going to have a problem delivering her baby, he said.

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As for examining the patient without a chaperone, Climan said he went to her room after noting an abnormal contraction on a monitor. He said he feared complications because of the location of the baby’s head in his previous examination.

Kark said Climan “made an error that was influenced by exceptional circumstances.”

She noted Climan is in his mid-70s. She said a suspension of seven years would effectively be a permanent ban because he would be in his 80s upon reinstatement.

In 2017, Quebec’s Professional Code was changed to impose stricter penalties for professionals found guilty of offences of a sexual nature.

Such professionals must be suspended for at least five years unless they “convince the council that striking off for a shorter time would be justified in the circumstances.” A minimum $5,000 fine must also be imposed.

In testimony Monday, Climan said he has learned from his mistakes and would not commit the infractions again.

He said that because a gynecological exam can be difficult, particularly with a male doctor, “what I tried to do with my patients is to tell them jokes, to relax them and let them know they’re in a warm, friendly environment.

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“I’ve learned now that this has been misinterpreted, misconstrued, that you have to be very careful, you have to be what is referred to now as ‘more professional’.”

He said if ever did another examination without a chaperone “I’d cut off my hands.” And he added that he now understands that he must always fill out a patient’s chart.

Climan said he should not be suspended for more than a year.

“I have suffered already, a great deal,” he said, citing financial difficulties and a strain on his family.

“My funds are near exhausted and I hope I will be able to go back to work, and I will pay what I owe as I’m able to because my lines of credit are almost full,” he said.

A final decision is expected to be handed down in October.

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