A long-time Toronto, Canada obstetrician/gynecologist had his ability to practice medicine revoked after an investigation determined that he induced labor in his patients by giving them dangerous drugs to hasten delivery, without their knowledge or consent, so that they would deliver their babies on a weekend instead of a weekday, because he was paid much more for weekend deliveries ($568 per delivery) than for weekday deliveries ($378 per delivery).
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario states on its website as follows:
Dr. Shuen is an obstetrician/gynecologist with a subspecialty in gynecologic oncology. In September 2016, the College appointed investigators to review Dr. Shuen’s practice, following receipt of a letter from the Hospital dated August 2016, notifying that Dr. Shuen had decided to retire from his hospital practice after meeting with hospital staff to discuss concerns relating to his practice.
The College conducted interviews with physicians and nurses at the Hospital. All of those interviewed confirmed that they were unaware of Dr. Shuen’s practice of using misoprostol for office based inductions. An expert retained by the College reviewed Dr. Shuen’s seven hospital and corresponding office charts and interviewed Dr. Shuen. The expert opined that Dr. Shuen fell below the standard of care in his practice of obstetrics by inserting an induction agent into patients who had no indication for induction, in an outpatient setting, without their knowledge or consent. During his interview with the expert, Dr. Shuen admitted, among other things, that he did not inform patients, discuss the risks, or obtain patients’ consent before engaging in office-based inductions, nor did he document this practice or keep records documenting these patients’ outcomes. This was despite earlier suggestions by him, which were not true, that the nurses at the Hospital who had seen his patients were aware of and had consented to this practice. He admitted to engaging in this practice for many years.
In September 2012, the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology spoke with Dr. Shuen about exceeding his cap on deliveries. Dr. Shuen apologized, citing financial pressure from his divorce. In January 2013, the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology spoke to Dr. Shuen about his inappropriate and intimidating behaviour with patients and staff. He noted that Dr. Shuen showed very little insight.
On August 21, 2016, in his email to the Hospital, Dr. Shuen stated that he had done a great deal of soul-searching since the meeting of August 18, and could now see the seriousness of his mistakes. He expressed remorse and took responsibility for what he had done. He indicated that he did not intend to fight the Hospital’s ruling and requested the Hospital to allow him six months to care for his current load of patients. He indicated that he had always taken very good care of his patients, that his patients counted on seeing him through delivery, and that he felt that because of the current situation, which was his fault, he was letting them down. He noted that if the Hospital granted his request, he would immediately announce his retirement from Hospital work (effective, March 1, 2017) and put an immediate halt to accepting new obstetrics patients. He vowed to never again do anything to artificially induce labour without the patient’s consent. By letter dated August 22, 2016, Dr. Shuen resigned his privileges at the Hospital.
On April 12, 2018, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Shuen “is incompetent,” inter alia.
On June 25, 2018, the Discipline Committee ordered and directed that the Registrar revoke Dr. Shuen’s certificate of registration, effective immediately, inter alia.
Dr. Shuen clearly placed his financial interests above his patients’ safety.
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