College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia

Dong Young KIM (03025)

Date of Action: April 11, 2011

Description of action taken

The Inquiry Committee directed the issuance of a citation under s. 33(6)(d) of the Health Professions Act against the Registrant regarding allegations of failing to gather sufficient information to formulate a proper diagnosis, failing to exercise appropriate judgment in performing 'fire acupuncture,' failing to explain the 'fire acupuncture' procedure and risks to the Complainant prior to administering the treatment, and failing to obtain informed consent to the 'fire acupuncture' treatment.

Following a discipline hearing, a panel of the Discipline Committee held that the Registrant had contravened s. 4.2 of the Standards of Practice by failing to exercise appropriate clinical judgment in performing the 'fire acupuncture' treatment on the Complainant, failing to explain the 'fire acupuncture' treatment and its risks prior to treatment and failing to obtain and document informed consent to the 'fire acupuncture' treatment. The Panel found that these actions constituted professional misconduct and imposed the penalties outlined below.

Reasons for Decision

By failing to explain the 'fire acupuncture' treatment and its risks to the Complainant prior to administering the treatment, the Registrant contravened s. 44.2 of the Standards of Practice for Registrants, and ss. 2(a)(i) and (ii) of the Code of Ethics for Registrants, which states that, "Registrants fully inform their clients about the effects and risks of treatment….", and "Registrants ensure that care is authorized by informed consent…" The Complainant testified that the Registrant did not discuss the 'fire acupuncture' treatment with him prior to administration. There was no documentary evidence demonstrating that the Registrant obtained informed consent prior to administering the 'fire acupuncture' treatment. The evidence established that 'fire acupuncture' was not an appropriate treatment for the Complainant's skin condition. The Registrant acknowledged that he did not know the risks of 'fire acupuncture.' Two expert witnesses testified that risks of 'fire acupuncture' included facial scarring.

Penalty

The Discipline Committee panel, following a joint submission on penalty by the CTCMA and Mr. Kim, imposed the following penalties:

  1. a reprimand under s. 39(2)(a) of the Act for failure to obtain and document informed consent for the 'fire acupuncture' treatments and failure to exercise appropriate judgment in performing 'fire acupuncture' on the Complainant;
  2. a two (2) day suspension of the Registrant's registration to take effect within 30 days of the date of the Discipline Committee panel's order on two consecutive business days under s. 39(2)(c) of the Act;
  3. payment of hearing costs and disbursements in the amount of $11,000 to the CTCMA within 60 days of the date of the Discipline Committee panel's order under s. 39(5) of the Act; and
  4. payment of $100 to the CTCMA within 30 days of the date of the Discipline Committee panel's order under s.39(10) of the Act as a partial reimbursement of fees paid by the Complainant for the fire acupuncture treatments.