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News Release

Letter from the Medical Reform Group of Ontario
to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

August 23, 1980

Dr. Michael Dixon,
Registrar College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
64 Prince Arthur

Dear Dr. Dixon:

Regarding the incident reported in the press involving Josiane Lechot and Dr. Willard Wilson, the Medical Reform Group strongly urges the College to act quickly in its preliminary investigation and to refer the matter to the Discipline Committee: Dr. Wilson has publicly confirmed the basic fact of the case as reported, with an extraordinary disregard for the laws which govern medical practice. We refer to the Ontario Regulations under the Health Disciplines Act, Section 26, Subsection 119 which brands as professional misconduct "refusing to render a medically necessary service unless payment ... is received in advance ..."

Those of us who have occasion to refer our patients for abortions know that the demand for money "up front" is not uncommon. This is an area where some physicians know that payment can be exacted from a desperate patient and use the situation to their financial advantage. The College must act decisively in the present case, to put an end to this disgraceful practice.

Our suggestion to opted-out physicians who find themselves in Dr. Wilson's position is that they participate in the health insurance plan. Childish and irresponsible tactics such as his, involving refusing service to a patient on the operating table, must be loudly and unequivocally denounced by the profession, whose image is deservedly tarnished by the membership of such physicians.

Sincerely yours,

Debby Copes, M.D. For the Steering Committee
Medical Reform Group of Ontario

Dr. Robert MacMillan
The Hon. Dennis Timbrell
The Globe and Mail

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