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Phipps, Nigel Mark

CPSO#: 55790

MEMBER STATUS
Suspended as of 01 Oct 2019
CPSO REGISTRATION CLASS
Restricted as of 15 May 2015
Flag: Indicates a concern or additional information

Summary

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Former Name: No Former Name

Gender: Male

Languages Spoken: English

Education:University of Toronto, 1985

Practice Information

Primary Location of Practice
Practice Address Not Available

Professional Corporation Information


Corporation Name: Dr. Nigel Phipps Medicine Professional Corporation
Certificate of Authorization Status: Issued Date:  Jun 18 2009

Shareholders:
Dr. N. Phipps ( CPSO# 55790 )

Business Address:
Suite 204
99 Sinclair Avenue
Georgetown ON  L7G 5G1
Phone Number: (905) 873-3344

Business Address:
199 Princess Anne Drive
Georgetown ON  L7G 0E3
Phone Number: (905) 873-3000

Registration History

Action Issue Date
First certificate of registration issued: Postgraduate Education Certificate Effective: 17 Jun 1985
Transfer of class of registration to: Independent Practice Certificate Effective: 19 Jun 1986
Transfer of class of certificate to: Restricted certificate Effective: 15 May 2015
Terms and conditions imposed on certificate by member Effective: 15 May 2015
Terms and conditions amended by Discipline Committee Effective: 18 Sep 2019
Suspension of registration imposed: Discipline Committee Effective: 01 Oct 2019

Practice Restrictions Flag: indicates a concern or additional information

Registration Status: Suspended     Effective From: 01 Oct 2019


Imposed By Effective Date Expiry Date Status
Discipline Committee Effective: 01 Oct 2019 Active

Previous Hearings Flag: indicates a concern or additional information

Committee: Discipline
Decision Date: 27 Aug 2018
Summary:

On August 27, 2018, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Nigel Mark Phipps committed an 
act of professional misconduct, in that he has engaged in the sexual abuse of patients, and in that 
he has engaged an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to all 
the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or 
unprofessional.  
 
Allegations referred by Notices of Hearing dated September 7, 2016 and October 11, 2017, were 
dealt with in one hearing. 
 
Sexual Abuse of Patients 
 
In this matter, the allegation of sexual abuse referred to touching of a sexual nature, and 
behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature, by the member towards a patient. To establish sexual 
abuse of a patient by a member, the definition specifies that the touching, behaviour or remarks 
at issue must be of a ‘sexual nature’ and not of a clinical nature appropriate to the service 
provided.  
 
Dr. Phipps is a family physician. Dr. Phipps did not contest that the eleven individuals were 
patients at the relevant times. 
 
During the period late August to early October 2014, Dr. Phipps showed one or more naked 
photographs of himself to eleven female patients during clinical visits. The women had been 
long-term patients of Dr. Phipps. They had trusted Dr. Phipps. In many instances, the women 
were shown a photograph in which Dr. Phipps’ penis was erect or semi-erect. Often, he used the 
pretext of an apparently innocuous story from a golf trip he had taken more than two years 
before showing the photos. Some patients were shown naked photographs that had nothing to do 
with the golf trip and that Dr. Phipps took later at his home. 
 
The Committee found that Dr. Phipps’ conduct in showing one or more naked photographs of 
himself to each of eleven patients constitutes behaviour of a sexual nature towards a patient. The 
Committee therefore found that Dr. Phipps sexually abused each of the eleven patients. 
 
The Committee found that Dr. Phipps was sexually aroused after showing the photos to two of 
the patients (Patient B) and (Patient A). The Committee therefore found that Dr. Phipps sexually 
abused Patient B and Patient A by becoming sexually aroused during his interactions with each 
of these patients. 
 
Dr. Phipps acknowledged that he made comments to two patients to the effect that ‘I’ve seen 
yours, now you’ve seen mine’ or ‘I’ve seen you naked, now you’ve seen me naked’ (Patients C, 
I). In addition, Patient B testified that Dr. Phipps said to her as she was leaving, ‘Now you know 
more about me than most of my patients.’ Further, Patient A testified that Dr. Phipps said to her, 
‘Ain’t I well-endowed for a man my age’ after showing her the full-frontal photograph. The 
Committee found that each of these comments is remarks of a sexual nature and constitutes 
sexual abuse. Given the context in which each comment was made, specifically after Dr. Phipps 
had shown each patient a naked photograph of himself, the Committee found that an objective 
observer would conclude that each of these comments further sexualized the encounter with 
these four patients and constitutes sexual abuse. 
 
Patient A testified that on the date of the visit when Dr. Phipps showed her his naked 
photograph, she was also examined by Dr. Phipps. She was seated on the examining table, Dr. 
Phipps stood facing her, leaned forward slightly, and pressed on her ribs with his right hand 
while lifting her top with his left hand. It was as he was leaning in that Patient A felt what she 
believed was an erection. She was adamant that it was Dr. Phipps’ erect penis that she felt. The 
Committee found that Dr. Phipps engaged in touching of a sexual nature of Patient A when he 
touched her leg with his erect penis during the physical examination conducted after he had 
shown her the full-frontal photograph. 
 
Disgraceful, Dishonourable or Unprofessional Conduct  
 
Dr. Phipps admitted that he engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine 
that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as 
disgraceful, dishonourable, or unprofessional. 
 
Dr. Phipps showed naked photographs of himself to eleven patients, made remarks of a sexual 
nature to four patients, became sexually aroused during the encounters with two patients and 
touched one patient in a sexual manner. He engaged in this conduct with patients who had come 
to trust him over many years.  
 
Trust is the cornerstone of the physician-patient relationship. When a patient seeks care from a 
physician, the patient trusts that the physician is a professional and will treat her in a professional 
manner. Physicians must establish and maintain appropriate professional boundaries with 
patients or the professional relationship is jeopardized and patients are at risk of great harm. 
Violations of such boundaries, particularly of a sexual nature, can engender in patients a loss of 
trust in the physician and in the health professions and feelings of betrayal, victimization, anger, 
shame and guilt. Sexualizing the relationship and sharing highly personal and private material 
represent a clear and profound breach of trust, and would be viewed by members of the 
profession as disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional conduct. 
 
Dr. Phipps also showed naked photographs of himself to three staff members. Dr. Phipps was in 
a position of authority with respect to the staff at the clinic. His behaviour in sharing naked 
photographs of himself with clinic staff was wholly inappropriate and unacceptable. In the 
Committee’s view, it rose well above the level of unacceptable into disgraceful, dishonourable 
and unprofessional conduct based on the highly personal and private nature of the material and 
the intent to embarrass. However, whether or not the staff were uncomfortable, shocked or 
otherwise adversely affected is not relevant; conduct need not be harmful to be unprofessional.  
 
There are boundaries to physicians’ behaviour towards patients, colleagues, coworkers and the 
public. Physicians are expected to strictly maintain those boundaries and if they do not do so, 
they should expect to be judged adversely. Boundaries in a physician’s workplace are essential 
so as to provide an atmosphere of safety and respect for all. They help control and address issues 
of workplace harassment, workplace safety, and power imbalance in settings that are often fast-
paced, intense, and stressful. Dr. Phipps’ conduct crossed such boundaries and constitutes 
disgraceful, dishonourable, and unprofessional conduct. It cannot be tolerated. 
 
The Committee accepted Dr. Phipps admission and found that he committed an act of 
professional misconduct in that he has engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional 
conduct in relation to eleven patients and three clinic staff. 
 
DISPOSITION 
 
On September 18, 2019, the Committee ordered and directed that: 
 
-  The Registrar suspend Dr. Phipps’s certificate of registration for a period of fourteen (14) 
   months, commencing on October 1, 2019. 
-  The Registrar place the following terms, conditions and limitations on Dr. Phipps’s 
   certificate of registration: 
       
  o  Dr Phipps shall not engage in any professional encounters, in person or otherwise 
     (“Professional Encounters)”), with patients of any age, in any jurisdiction, unless the 
     Professional Encounter takes place in the continuous presence and under the continuous 
     observation of a monitor who is a regulated health professional acceptable to the College 
     (the “Practice Monitor”). At all times, Dr. Phipps shall ensure that the Practice Monitor 
     shall: 
     ?     Remain in the examination room or consultation room at all times during all 
           professional encounters with patients, even if another person is accompanying the 
           patient; 
     ?     Carefully observe all of his physical examinations with an unobstructed view of 
           the examination;  
     ?     Refrain from performing any other functions, except those required in the Practice 
           Monitor’s undertaking attached as Appendix “A” (the “Practice Monitor’s 
           Undertaking”), while observing him in all his professional encounters with 
           patients; 
     ?     Keep a patient log in the form attached as Appendix “B” to this Order of all the 
           patients with whom Dr. Phipps has an in-person professional encounter in the 
           Practice Monitor’s presence (the “Log”); 
     ?     Initial the corresponding entry in the records of each patient noted in the Log to 
           confirm that the Practice Monitor was in the presence of Dr. Phipps at all times 
           during in-person professional encounter; 
     ?     Submit the original Log to the College on a monthly basis; and 
     ?     Provide reports (as described in the Practice Monitor’s Undertaking) to the 
           College on at least a monthly basis.  
          
  o  Dr. Phipps shall post a sign in each of his examination and consultations rooms that 
     states: “Dr. Nigel Mark Phipps must not have professional encounters, in person or 
     otherwise, with patients, unless in the continuous presence of and under the continuous 
     observation of a practice monitor acceptable to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of 
        Ontario. Dr. Phipps must not be alone with patients in any examination or consulting 
        room. Further information may be found on the College website at www.cpso.on.ca;” 
         
     o  Dr. Phipps shall continue therapy with a College-approved psychiatrist, who shall 
        provide written reports to the College quarterly for two years and thereafter, every six (6) 
        months. Dr. Phipps shall meet with the psychiatrist as often as recommended by the 
        psychiatrist; 
          
     o  Dr. Phipps shall inform the College of each and every location where he practices, in any 
        jurisdiction (“Practice Location(s)”) within five (5) days of commencing practice at that 
        location; and 
     o  Dr. Phipps shall be responsible for all costs associated with implementing the terms of 
        this Order. 
                   
-  Dr. Phipps shall reimburse the College funding under the program required under section 85.7 of 
   the Code with respect to eleven (11) patients, by posting an irrevocable letter of credit or other 
   security acceptable to the College, within thirty (30) days of this order in the amount of 
   $176,660.00. 
-  Dr. Phipps attend before the panel to be reprimanded. 
-  If the parties cannot agree on costs, the Committee will consider written submissions on costs to 
   be delivered by counsel for Dr. Phipps and the College by September 30, 2019 and then each 
   party may deliver its response in writing by October 7, 2019. 
    
   COSTS 
    
   -  On October 11, 2019, the Discipline Committee ordered that Dr. Phipps pay costs to the 
      College in the amount of $32,370.00 within 60 days of the date of this Order.


Decision: Download Full Decision (PDF)
Hearing Date(s): July 31- August 1, October 26-27, November 13, 2017 Penalty hearing dates: June 24-26, 2019 Reprimand: November 14, 2019 at 12:15 p.m.