January 6, 2014
Doctor barred from performing circumcisions still booking appointmentsby Aaron Derfel
MONTREAL - A Montreal family doctor who has been barred temporarily from performing circumcisions is still allowing parents to book the procedure for their infant boys at his downtown clinic, The Gazette has learned.
On Dec. 24, the Quebec College of Physicians’ disciplinary tribunal restricted the medical licence of Dr. Raymond Rezaie pending a final ruling on his case in the coming months. Rezaie, 51, who obtained his medical degree in the Dominican Republic in 1992, is accused of botching dozens of circumcisions on baby boys since 2010. Many of the infants have had to undergo corrective surgery.
Although Rezaie is presumed to be innocent of the disciplinary charges against him, the tribunal nonetheless took the extraordinary step of barring him from carrying out circumcisions until a final ruling is rendered, given that he had referred 87 patients to Ste-Justine Hospital following medical complications.
Despite the restriction on his licence, two parents who contacted his clinic since Dec. 24 were advised that he is still performing circumcisions, said a West Island physician who spoke on condition that his name not be published for fear of professional reprisals.
“This is not right,” the physician said. “When the parents found out he can’t do the circumcisions, they were very upset.”
A Gazette reporter seeking to schedule an appointment for an infant circumcision contacted Rezaie’s Clinique Médicale Alpha on Guy St. on Monday. The receptionist who answered the phone did not disclose that Rezaie’s medical licence is restricted or that he is not carrying out circumcisions at the moment, but said he was fully booked for a number of weeks.
The receptionist then asked for the age of the infant.
“What I can do is put you on the waiting list, and like this, maybe in one month or two months he will call you,” Rezaie’s receptionist said. “Is that okay for you?”
The Quebec College of Physicians is now investigating whether Rezaie might have violated the terms of his restricted licence, a spokesperson said.
“If he is giving appointments in a month’s time, this is very surprising because his licence will stay restricted for several months” until the outcome of his case, said Leslie Labranche.
She added that it is also Rezaie’s obligation to inform all the employees at his clinic, including his receptionist, of the fact that his medical licence has been restricted.
“One can’t say it’s the fault of the receptionist or that someone wasn’t aware of the restriction,” Labranche explained. “It’s very much the responsibility of the physician to inform everyone in his clinic of the limits of his practice.”
Another receptionist who answered Rezaie’s phone at his clinic Monday afternoon hung up on a reporter who asked to speak to him. Rezaie was unavailable for comment at his Côte-St-Luc home.
In his initial defence before the disciplinary board, Rezaie’s lawyer noted that he had performed a total of 6,000 circumcisions in his career after training for 40 hours under the supervision of a physician in British Columbia.
However, the disciplinary tribunal ruled that “80 cases (of botched circumcisions) is a staggering number that cannot be dismissed out of hand.”