Ontario medical regulator accused of harming patients amid third-party seizure of private medical records

Patients whose private medical information was seized by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario through a third party claim that the regulator tried to silence them, blatantly contradicting their duty to protect patient interests.

Ontario medical regulator accused of harming patients amid third-party seizure of private medical records
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The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s disciplinary tribunal heard from two patients of Dr. Sonja Kustka, who faced an investigation by the CPSO and allegations of noncompliance for refusing to hand over her patient's private medical records during the COVID-19 mandate hysteria in 2021.

An investigation was launched into Dr. Kustka after a non-patient made a “racially prejudiced” complaint to the CPSO about two children with mask exemptions, according to a press release from the advocacy group called Privacy is Your Right.

This sparked patients of Kustka’s to inquire whether their doctor was being “non-cooperative” as the CPSO has deemed, or whether Dr. Kustka was protecting their privacy by not disclosing their personal information to the CPSO without their explicit consent.

The CPSO, entrusted with safeguarding patient interests, found itself accused of silencing the very voices it purports to represent.

“Ironically, the CPSO is silencing patients while claiming to speak for them, and destroying the doctor-patient relationship of trust, while claiming to protect them in a power grab over personal health information,” a news release from the group read.

The patients, covered by a publication ban to uphold their medical privacy, highlighted the questionable basis of CPSO’s investigation, citing a lack of patient complaints and the speculative nature of the allegations against Dr. Kustka.

The complaint was filed by a Girl Guide leader, accused of holding “racist, prejudiced” views of the mask-exempt children under her supervision.

A parent involved in this saga claimed that the guide leader made racially charged remarks and stereotype generalizations about the community where the incident occurred when lodging the complaint against Dr. Kustka.

They cited that the leader had “reasons to believe that this written mask exemption is not legitimate,” while accusing Dr. Kustka of “accepting payment for writing such forms,” something the parent states is based on “presumption, suspicion and prejudice.”

The emotional plea of the two patients detailed how harm was never inflicted by their family physician, whom they explicitly directed not to disclose their private medical information, and instead has come from the CPSO.

“My privacy has already been breached,” one of the patients tearfully proclaimed.

“In December 2022, CPSO demanded that a third party pharmacist release the names and details of my ivermectin prescription, and seized these records from the third party.” The patient called this a “fishing expedition, and patients were the bait.”

Since this time, the US FDA has been court-ordered to remove false and misleading posts about prescriptions such as Ivermectin from their platforms.

“The CPSO caused me harm, breached my privacy, caused harm to all other patients during this third-party data breach and restricted the prescribing of ivermectin. I am the patient, my personal information belongs to me, not the CPSO or anyone else who takes it without my consent,” they stated.

Both patients vehemently defended Dr. Kustka's integrity, painting a portrait of a dedicated physician whose only crime was upholding the sanctity of patient confidentiality.

Counsel for the CPSO, Elisabeth Widner, stated that patient participation in the panel offered no assistance, citing an earlier case where their concerns were dismissed by the courts.

Lawyer Paul Slansky representing the registrants, vigorously argued that the tribunal consider patient input. He emphasized the importance of upholding a reasonable expectation of privacy and confidentiality on behalf of patients.

Tribunal Chair David Wright reserved his decision.

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