Quebec’s College of Physicians has suspended a Côte-des-Neiges ophthalmologist for three months, for failing to carry out the proper diagnosis of a cancer patient who was later discovered to have a tumour in his brain.
The professional order’s disciplinary board also fined Dr. Élizabeth-Louise Gariépy a total of $7,500 for writing a medical note that was illegible and incomplete. Gariépy practises at the Médiclub du Sanctuaire near Outremont.
The sanctions arise from the case of a 65-year-old man suffering from cancer of the bladder and lungs who was referred to Gariépy by his family doctor after he complained about a loss of peripheral vision in his left eye.
During the consultation on Nov. 10, 2016, Gariépy prescribed Vitalux Advanced for macular degeneration as well as drops of Xalatan for glaucoma. She also asked the patient to return at the beginning of January 2017 for an eye examination.
However, on Nov. 28, another ophthalmologist the patient was referred to confirmed he was suffering from partial blindness and ordered a brain scan the same night. The next day, an oncologist informed the patient the scan showed a tumour in his brain.
On Jan. 17, the patient’s sister filed a complaint with the College.
Gariépy, who has held a medical licence to practise ophthalmology since 1990, pleaded guilty to three disciplinary charges on Dec. 12, 2018. She told the board she feels sorry for the patient and has taken steps to ensure she does not commit the same errors again.
The decision by the College’s disciplinary board was dated Jan. 31 and made public on Tuesday.