MD who sex­u­ally abused pa­tient must pay $21,000

‘Dif­fi­cult and pub­lic end’ to ca­reer of Dr. An­thony Laws

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - TEVIAH MORO tmoro@thes­pec.com 905-526-3264 | @Te­vi­ahMoro

TORONTO — A for­mer Hamil­ton doc­tor has been rep­ri­manded for sex­u­ally abus­ing a pa­tient and car­ry­ing on an in­ap­pro­pri­ate re­la­tion­ship with an­other.

Dr. An­thony Laws pleaded no con­test to al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing two men with at­ten­tion deficit dis­or­der dur­ing a Col­lege of Physi­cians and Sur­geons of On­tario hear­ing Thurs­day.

The five-per­son com­mit­tee re­voked his reg­is­tra­tion cer­tifi­cate with the col­lege and or­dered him to pay $16,060 in treat­ment funds and $5,000 in costs by Aug. 15.

Ac­cept­ing a joint sub­mis­sion, chair Dr. Ca­role Clap­per­ton called Laws a source of “shame and dis­grace” for prey­ing upon vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients. “They were re­ly­ing on you and you used them for your own pur­poses.”

A gen­eral prac­ti­tioner since the 1980s, the McMaster grad­u­ate spe­cial­ized in treat­ing pa­tients with at­ten­tion deficit dis­or­der, most re­cently in Hamil­ton.

A St. Joseph’s Health­care psy­chi­a­trist told the col­lege about one pa­tient’s sex­ual abuse al­le­ga­tions two years ago, ac­cord­ing to an agreed state­ment of facts.

Pa­tient A, whose iden­tity is shielded by a pub­li­ca­tion ban, was un­der Laws’ care from March 2012 to June 2014. Laws, in his mid-60s at the time, had the pa­tient, in his mid-30s, over to his home of­fice sev­eral times.

“Dur­ing these vis­its, Dr. Laws and the pa­tient con­sumed al­co­hol to­gether and went into Dr. Laws’ hot tub to­gether,” col­lege lawyer Lisa Brown­stone said.

One time, Laws kissed the pa­tient. An­other time, he mas­saged him while they were naked. He also put the man’s penis into his mouth, the com­mit­tee heard.

Laws gave the pa­tient a mar­i­juana cookie dur­ing a pe­riod when he was tak­ing stim­u­lant med­i­ca­tion the doc­tor had pre­scribed. The man wound up in hos­pi­tal with psy­chotic symp­toms.

A psy­chi­a­trist the col­lege re­tained to opine on Laws’ work with Pa­tient A said the doc­tor “did ex­ceed the stan­dard max­i­mum doses” for the ADD drugs.

Pa­tient B saw Laws from May 2003, when he was in his early 30s, un­til Au­gust 2010. Dur­ing that time, he rented a room at the doc­tor’s home, pay­ing $450 a month and help­ing out around the house. The two opened a joint bank ac­count into which the pa­tient’s so­cial as­sis­tance pay­ments were di­rectly de­posited.

An­other ex­pert told the col­lege Laws pre­scribed drugs to Pa­tient B in what seemed a “hap­haz­ard” fash­ion and didn’t note them in re­ports to other doc­tors.

Brown­stone ar­gued Laws’ reck­less­ness wasn’t just a one-off but “re­peated be­hav­iour with two pa­tients over a pe­riod of years.”

Nor was it the first time he’d been dis­ci­plined, she noted.

In 1999, his cer­tifi­cate was sus­pended for three months af­ter a hear­ing ex­am­ined his role in the liver-fail­ure death of a 14-old-boy un­der his care six years ear­lier.

The boy’s par­ents said Laws hadn’t told them about the po­ten­tial side ef­fects of the drugs he’d pre­scribed nor the need to mon­i­tor his liver.

In 2003, he was handed 45 days in jail for fak­ing doc­u­ments to hide his role in the death.

Dur­ing Thurs­day’s hear­ing, lawyer Kelly Tran­quilli said her client had co­op­er­ated with the col­lege and had al­ready re­signed from the col­lege last year.

“This is in­deed a very dif­fi­cult and pub­lic end to his ca­reer.”

Laws de­clined to com­ment af­ter the hear­ing. He still op­er­ates SYA Coach­ing Group, a non-med­i­cal cen­tre for adults and youth with learn­ing and be­havioural is­sues at 357 Main St. E.

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