A B.C. doctor, fired for not getting the COVID jab in 2021, will not get her hospital privileges back, according to the Hospital Appeal Board.
On November 16, 2021, Interior Health (IH) terminated Dr. Theresa Szezepaniak for refusing the vaccine under order from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
The health authority later revoked her privileges to provide patient care at Royal Inland Hospital in August 2022.
On November 20, 2023, the Hospital Appeal Board ruled against Szezepaniak, claiming she neglected her obligations as a medical professional.
According to the ruling, the decision says Interior Health did not challenge Szezekpaniak's right to refuse the vaccine, but it did hold her accountable for the fact that choice left her unable to work under provincial law.
However, they suggested Interior Health could have suspended the physician in case she got the jab in time for her next annual review.
"The appellant [Szezepaniak] says that IH is required to respect her exercise of her Charter rights," an appeal board panel wrote.
"The implication is that in order to respect her decision IH must not take any steps that hold the appellant accountable for the consequences of that decision. Having the right to make a decision, and your right to do so acknowledged, or respected, is not the same as being held responsible for the consequences," it reads.
Asked for comment on the case, Szezepaniak's lawyer, Lee Turner, told CBC they are still reviewing the decision.
"I expect our client will be making a decision shortly on whether she will pursue a judicial review of the decision," he wrote in an emailed statement.
This is a developing story.