Disturbing video of ER doctor arrested by SQ while working
Published Friday, October 26, 2012 9:06PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 28, 2012 4:15PM EDT
MONTREAL—Disturbing security footage was released by the Lachute Hospital on Friday showing an ER doctor being violently arrested last February by two Surete du Quebec officers in front of his patients.
According to Doctor Jeffrey Sirzyk, the incident took place after investigators called the ER looking for information about a child. Citing privacy rules, the head nurse refused, only telling police that the child in question had been transferred at 4:45 p.m. to an acute care facility. The SQ was not pleased.
“I could hear someone scream in French, ‘I’m coming to arrest someone.’ The nurse hung up, I thought that was nuts and I just continued to work,” said Sirzyk.
Sure enough, two officers, Michel El Khoury and Simon Jette, arrived at the ER shortly after.
“He came to me and said, ‘You're the doctor?’ I'm wearing my hospital uniform and it says urgentologist and I’m pointing to it,” described Sirzyk. “He grabbed me and says ‘You're under arrest for delay of inquest,’ and grabs my left hand and starts pulling me as he turned away and told me we're going to the police station.”
In grainy black-and-white video, the reflective tape of the SQ officers stands out as nurses in scrubs are seen trying to reason with the officers, without success. Sirzyk is seen being dragged and pushed against a wall in the bustling ER, as medical personnel look on in shock.
Minutes later, back-up officers arrived and ordered their colleague to calm-down and release the doctor. No charges were ever laid against him. Sirzyk has since filed a complaint against Officer El Khoury.
According to the Quebec College of Physicians, problems between ER doctors and police are not uncommon. Many ER doctors have similar stories of friction with police when a crime suspect or a victim ends up in hospital. The problem is so serious that the College requested a meeting with various heads of police forces in Quebec to remind them about doctor-patient privileges.
“That doctor followed the rules and respected professional secrecy. As a physician to be arrested during his duties in the emergency room, that isn’t acceptable,” said Charles Bernard, speaking for the College of Physicians.
The confrontation bears striking similarities with the confrontation early this month involving the Montreal police's Stefanie Trudeau. Known by her badge number, 728, that officer was suspended earlier this month after a questionable arrest where even the chief of police admitted excessive force was used.
“If you're not a doctor, if you don’t have a video, if you don't have five female medical personnel who have seen the whole incident, I don't know how you combat this mentality or actions,” said Sirzyk.
But Sirzyk isn't taking chances. He's quit his job in Lachute and now works in Hawksbury, Ontario, where he's sure to not encounter SQ officers.