College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia

David Li Lam (99187)

Date of action: April 8, 2013

Description of action taken

On October 18, 2012, the CTCMA initiated an investigation under s.33 of the Health Professions Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 183 (the “Act”) in response to a complaint received by a female patient alleging that the Registrant had asked her inappropriate sexual-related questions during a treatment session. The Inquiry Committee appointed an inspector who gathered evidence that the Registrant had asked questions of a sexual nature which did not appear to have a therapeutic purpose and engaged in the unauthorized practice of western medicine by performing pelvic examinations on other patients for sexual or fertility issues. The Inquiry Committee determined under s.33(6)(c) of the Act to seek a consent order under s.36 of the Act with terms that would ensure that the Registrant did not repeat the conduct.

Reasons for action taken

The Inquiry Committee determined that this was an appropriate case to seek a consent order because:

  1. the questions of a sexual nature to the Complainant were inappropriate although there was no evidence that the Registrant engaged in inappropriate touching for a sexual purpose;
  2. the Registrant claimed to have experience as a western medical gynaecologist in Cuba but was not registered to practice western medicine in British Columbia;
  3. the Registrant had engaged in the unauthorized practice of western medicine by performing pelvic examinations on other patients for sexual or fertility issues;
  4. the Registrant acknowledged that he had asked inappropriate questions of the Complainant;
  5. the Registrant expressed remorse for the discomfort that he caused to the Complainant;
  6. the Registrant voluntarily offered to refrain from treating any patients in the future for reproductive and/or sexual issues;
  7. the Registrant acknowledged that he must refrain from practicing western medicine without registration from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia; and
  8. the Registrant was willing to submit to ongoing monitoring by the College at his cost to ensure that he complies with the terms of the consent order.

Action taken

The Inquiry Committee requested, and the Registrant agreed to provide, an undertaking and consent under s. 33(6) of the Act to:

  1. refrain from treating any patient, whether male or female, for reproductive or sexual issues and to refrain from having discussions of any kind with patients concerning reproductive or sexual issues;
  2. refer any patients who attend at his clinic for reproductive or sexual issues to another registrant of the College or another qualified health care practitioner;
  3. refrain from conducting or offering to conduct, examinations of any male or female genitalia during the course of providing traditional Chinese medicine assessments or treatments;
  4. refrain from engaging in any advertising or marketing of traditional Chinese medicine services in relation to reproductive or sexual issues;
  5. refrain from repeating the conduct of engaging in unauthorized practice of western medicine without registration from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.;
  6. post notices at least 8 ½ x 11” in size, to be approved by the Registrar, in prominent places in his clinic reception area and in each treatment room, specifying in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese that a chaperone will be present for all visits with female patients and to keep those notices displayed permanently;
  7. have up to three chaperones to be approved in writing in advance by the Registrar, present for all visits with female patients for the remainder of the time he practices traditional Chinese medicine;
  8. to maintain separate records for traditional Chinese medicine treatments and massage therapy treatments within each patient file and to clearly advise patients, and to clinically document, which form of treatment he is providing;
  9. provide reports to the Registrar every two weeks for a period of one year which will list the names of all female patients he has seen in the preceding two week period, the condition that they were seen or treated for, and their contact information;
  10. consent to random or scheduled chart audits by an inspector appointed by the Inquiry Committee for the next two year period at his cost;
  11. pay a fine of $2,500 to the College; and
  12. pay investigation costs of $4,768.06 as calculated in accordance with the tariff under the College’s bylaws.