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QEII surgeon suspended for disruptive behaviour

A Grande Prairie doctor has been banned from practicing medicine for at least two years. In a December 2017 decision released last week, a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta tribunal found Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghamdi guilty of eight of his 13 charges of unprofessional conduct.

The orthopedic surgeon was the subject of a nearly two-year disciplinary hearing stemming from accusations his behaviour over a decade was so disruptive his colleagues at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital refused to work with him. It included regularly threatening to report them, have them written up, or file lawsuits.

“This is a sad case because Dr. Al-Ghamdi’s lack of insight into his behaviour, and refusal to accept responsibility for the impact of his actions, has impacted his practice as an orthopedic surgeon, a profession for which he has spent years training, cares about deeply and is skilled in practising,” the tribunal writes.

Al-Ghamdi worked at the local hospital from 2003 to 2013. During that time, he was accused of not following the on-call schedule, not cooperating with doctors and nurses, and creating a culture of fear and distrust.

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It reached a peak in December 2012 when the other orthopedic surgeons said they would no longer share the on-call schedule with Dr. Al-Ghamdi and wouldn’t help cover his patients. 37 of 40 operating room nurses also signed a petition refusing to work with him the next year.

“The concerns about Dr. Al-Ghamdi have not related to his clinical judgement or skills, but rather to his pattern of behaviour in his interactions with his colleagues at the QEII in Grande Prairie and with AHS,” the tribunal explains.

In his defence, Al-Ghamdi said he was the victim of “workplace mobbing” in part stemming from racism and Islamophobia. Some nurses reportedly referred to him as “Dr. al-Qaida”. The tribunal acknowledged there was a toxic work environment, but argued Al-Ghamdi’s behaviour led to some of it.

He has been handed a three-year suspension that can be reduced to two if he completes a comprehensive assessment program. He must also pay more than $700,000 in costs. The Edmonton Journal reports Al-Ghamdi plans to appeal the decision.

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