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Montreal-area doctor and advocate vindicated after ethics complaint withdrawn

A physician's efforts to save the Lachine Hospital emergency room sparked an ethics complaint from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) against Dr. Paul Saba, a health-care advocate, in December 2021. 

That complaint was eventually withdrawn.

The MUHC accused Saba of making non-factual, inaccurate, and unverifiable statements in the media and of interfering in gynecological services, a medical domain outside of his particular qualifications.

Former MUHC president and executive director Dr. Pierre Gfeller wrote in the complaint that "this attitude on the part of Dr. Saba has the potential to cause concern among the population of Lachine."

The MUHC also alleged that by speaking out about the impact of losing gynecological services, Saba interfered in a medical domain for which he has no particular qualifications.

"I think they really wanted to silence me," Saba told CTV News. "I believe that was their intention. It was clear that they did not approve of what I was saying to the media about the dangers of closing the emergency room at Lachine Hospital because they had a different plan of action. I believe that was a mistake on their part."

The allegations had the potential to put his medical licence in jeopardy.

The College of Physicians, however, confirmed that Gfeller withdrew his request for an investigation into Saba.

"This file is therefore closed as of today without further action on my part. No breach of ethics has been found," a letter from January signed by Dr. Jean Pelletier reads.

Gfeller left his post at the MUHC in January. He became interim director general College of Physicians in February.

Saba said that doctors have a duty to speak to the public about health-care issues and should not be intimidated. He hopes that his experience will encourage other health-care professionals to voice their concerns.

"I continue to advocate for not only the emergency room at Lachine Hospital but community ERs around the province," he said. "This is bad health-care policy and going to cause harm to the public. Approximately 10 ERs have partially or completely closed in the province in the last few years." Top Stories

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