The Inquiry Committee regularly receives complaints alleging bias on the part of family physicians, psychiatrists or pediatricians in reports and letters provided to parents pursuing custody of children in matrimonial disputes. At a recent meeting, the mother of a five-year-old alleged bias on the part of a family physician in favour of the child’s father. The committee concluded that letters provided by the physician did betray a bias and that the physician strayed beyond the bounds of objective clinical information in expressing his opinion concerning the best interests of the child, contrary to the posted standard on Medical Certificates and Other Third Party Reports.
While not doubting the good faith motives of the physician or the possibility that his opinions may be correct, the committee concluded its review with criticism and directed that the College seek the registrant’s consent to a remedial disposition, with attendance for an interview and commitment to complete the College’s course on professionalism.
Physicians are strongly encouraged to review the standard when asked to provide documentation of this nature.