Monitors report no aggression before hospital murder — (The Windsor Star)

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The Windsor Star

Doug Schmidt , CanWest News Service; Windsor Star

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WINDSOR, Ont.-The workplace monitors overseeing Dr. Marc Daniel’s return to Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital following his February 2005 suicide attempt were there to observe him, not to conduct “workplace surveillance,” a coroner’s inquest heard Tuesday.

Dr. Joy Albuquerque, a psychiatrist and associate medical director of the Physician Health Program (PHP), told a jury the program is more about helping doctors experiencing problems than policing them for the safety of others.

As a condition for his return to the operating room at Hotel-Dieu in the spring of 2005, Daniel had to sign a contract with the PHP, allowing himself to be monitored and agreeing to ongoing counselling and medication to stabilize his moods.

Albuquerque said Daniel went into the program after a diagnosis of depression and bipolar disorder.

The inquest into the Nov. 12, 2005, murder of nurse Lori Dupont by Daniel, who subsequently killed himself, has heard from his psychiatrist, as well as from two fellow anesthetists who agreed to monitor Daniel’s return to work.

All three testified they observed little to no harassing behaviour directed by Daniel toward Dupont and others, and they testified further to having received no reports from others about any bad behaviour.

But the inquest also heard Tuesday from the latest in a string of Hotel-Dieu nurses who have testified to ongoing and disturbing workplace behaviour by Daniel, much of it reported to – and some even observed by – hospital managers.

The PHP, created by the Ontario Medical Association in 1995 to assist and treat physicians struggling with substance abuse and mental health problems, was in charge of overseeing Daniel and deciding when he was healthy enough to return to work.

By the end of May, said Albuquerque, “we had no reports of any concerns whatsoever,” and Hotel-Dieu was instructed to let Daniel return to the operating room.

Under questioning by coroner counsel Eric Siebenmorgen, Albuquerque said she had been in contact with Daniel’s psychiatrist Dr. Brian Burke and the hospital’s chief of medical staff Dr. Art Kidd but that she was never advised of Daniel’s visits to Dupont’s recovery room workplace and the operating room while he was still on medical leave.

She also testified she was never told of an incident in which Daniel placed a compromising photo of Dupont on her car.

Albuquerque said it was an “oversight” on the PHP’s part that one of Daniel’s monitors – chief anesthetist Dr. Brijesh Arya – was never given any written guidelines on what his role was, while the other, Dr. William Taylor, didn’t receive that material until shortly before Dupont’s murder.

Albuquerque testified there were no reports on Daniel received by her program from Aug. 24, when she spoke by phone with him, until Nov. 7. That was the date the PHP received its first and only monitoring report from Taylor and a PHP case manager met with Daniel. Later that week, Dupont was killed.