Montague doctor suspended, declared incapacitated following sexual relationship with former patient

·3 min read
Dr. Nicole Fancy (shown here in 2019) was a family physician practising in Montague. (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Nicole Fancy (shown here in 2019) was a family physician practising in Montague. (CBC - image credit)

A P.E.I. doctor has been suspended for at least one year, fined $30,000 and declared incapacitated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of P.E.I.

The penalties imposed against Dr. Nicole Fancy, a family physician who had been practicing in Montague, arise from an investigation by the college after she entered into a sexual relationship with one former patient and following a complaint she had "inappropriately pursued a friendship" with another.

In a pair of rulings dated June 25, the college said in both cases Fancy committed professional misconduct according to P.E.I.'s Medical Act by failing to maintain accepted professional standards and by engaging in conduct which "would reasonably be regarded by medical practitioners as disgraceful, dishonourable, or unprofessional."

The college said Fancy reported the sexual relationship herself, telling the college it had begun at the time she had informed the patient their physician-patient relationship had ended.

But the college said the relationship continued during the course of its investigation, and ordered Fancy receive a written reprimand for trying to avoid detection.

Regarding the patient with which the college said Fancy pursued a friendship, the college said Fancy had recently treated that patient at a mental health clinic.

Underwent evaluation

According to the rulings, Fancy voluntarily underwent a psychiatric/psychological evaluation.

Based on the results the college declared her incapacitated under the terms of the Medical Act.

That means, in addition to a 12-month suspension, Fancy will be unable to resume her practice until deemed fit by the college and will face restrictions when she does resume.

Fancy was ordered to undergo psychotherapy, to agree to abstain from the consumption of alcohol, cannabis and other substances and to participate in a toxicology screening program for two years.

A call to Dr. Fancy's practice Tuesday resulted in a recorded message saying she will be out of the office for an unspecified amount of time. A staff person at the Montague Medical Centre said Fancy had not practised there for the past 18 months.

Further reprimands

The college has also issued a reprimand to Dr. Henry Swart — the third disciplinary action taken against the gynecologist since 2009.

The college said Swart was found guilty of professional misconduct under a section of the Canadian Medical Association's code of ethics which requires physicians limit the treatment they provide to themselves or immediate family members to minor or emergency services, and not to bill for those services.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC
Sarah MacMillan/CBC

Swart was provided a written reprimand and ordered to pay $3,500 to cover costs of the college's investigation and disciplinary proceedings. He was also ordered to participate in an individualized course in medical ethics at his own expense.

In 2019 Swart admitted to professional misconduct for performing a procedure on a patient without their consent.

In 2009 the college restricted Swart's practice to prevent him from managing patients for cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition in women, following a complaint from a patient.

A 2014 ruling against Swart was overturned by the P.E.I. Court of Appeal, which found the process the College of Physicians was using to deal with complaints against doctors was flawed.

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