College could take away community doctor’s license

Dr. Rob Kamermans on his farm in 2014.

Dr. Rob Kamermans on his farm in 2014.

It’s been almost four years since the clinic run by Dr. Rob Kamermans in Coe Hill was raided. The anniversary of the raid is on January 26 and the doctor and his wife, Mary, have still not been to trial and they have still not been found guilty on any charges.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has decided to take their own action and called for a review of some emergency charts from Bracebridge, Ontario where the Doctor had been working. Thirteen months ago they found Dr. Kamermans failed to maintain the standard of practice. This was based on six emergency room charts that were reviewed by a doctor hired by the College. As a result of this finding, on January 18, 2016, the Doctor will be disciplined and the most likely outcome is that he will be stripped of his license to practice medicine in Ontario.

To many of Dr. Kamerman’s patients, this feels like another reminder that our trusted community member is still being punished for helping so many Canadians legally access medical marijuana. The College has taken swift action against the doctor even though there were no negative patient outcomes in the reviewed scenarios and no complaints were made.

Four long years of constant stress has taken its toll on the whole Kamermans family. As patients rally to support the doctor who still works out of the small community clinic in Coe Hill, Mary Kamermans was rushed to the hospital with a cardiac emergency in late December. The family has gathered in Kingston where she is being cared for and it is clear that she can no longer handle the stress. Four years is a ridiculous amount of time to be dragged through this seemingly broken system.

For patients of Dr. Kamermans and Mary, the College now holds all the power. A community report is being drafted and it will be submitted (we hope) for consideration before their decision is handed down and many community members have added their names and a brief statement in an effort to advocate for access to health care in our rural community.

In basic terms, we, as a community of patients, are asking that the College not take away our doctor. We trust him. We admire him and without our doctor, many of us will be without a family physician.

Please read through the following letter that has been circulating to patients and community members. Please consider adding your name, your voice, your support.

After four years of covering this story I am not foolish enough to think that things will end well but while we have the opportunity to speak; we should not be silent.

Thank you,

Barb Shaw

————————–

Barbara Shaw
37 Wollaston Lake Road
Coe Hill, ON
K0L 1P0

Dear friends,
In January our community doctor will be facing the disciplinary committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is the body that regulates the practice of medicine to protect and serve the public interest. This system of self-regulation is based on the premise that the College must act first and foremost in the interest of the public.
As you are aware, in early 2012, the clinic that Dr. Kamermans operates in Coe Hill was raided by the police. He has yet to be found guilty on any charges and is still waiting for a trial date.
In 2012 the College informed Dr. Kamermans that his emergency room performance was being evaluated. Twenty-four medical charts from Bracebridge, Ontario were peer-reviewed by a member of the College. There were concerns raised with six of the charts. The peer reviewer’s opinion regarding how to treat differed from what was offered. There were no negative patient outcomes in any of these six cases. None of the patients made complaints.
Based on these six charts, on Nov. 7, 2014, the College found that Dr. Kamermans failed to maintain the standard of practice. On January 18, 2016 he will be disciplined and the most likely outcome is that he will be stripped of his licence to practice medicine in Ontario.
Recently there has been some media attention following another Ontario doctor losing his license. This was after 27 years of complaints that related to sexual assault, abuse and misconduct. This former physician has been in jail since 2014.
Looking at the case involving Dr. Kamermans, it seems that the possible punishment from the College is somewhat inflated and this should be noted by our community.
If Dr. Kamermans is stripped of his license to practice on January 18th Coe Hill will lose its walk-in clinic, a doctor who makes house calls and community access to a family doctor.
Our community doctor currently manages the care of a significant number of diabetics in our community. He manages patients who need monitoring for chronic pain that do receive narcotic support and he supports patients with COPD. Many of us who choose to receive care from Dr. Kamermans know that he is a diligent front-line worker and that by choice he resides in an economically depressed region where access to health care has always been challenging.
I am currently drafting a report for the College to encourage them to let Dr. Kamermans continue to practice medicine from his clinic. He has not recommended any patient to the medical marijuana program since 2012, by his choice and he has also not worked in an emergency room since 2012, again by his choice.
If the College removes our doctor there will be hundreds of North Hastings and North Kawartha residents that will not have a family doctor. The College is not offering any support to those who will need help finding medical care and as a result, this seems to contradict the College’s mandate of protecting us as patients.
Please consider contributing to our community report by adding your name and a brief statement about why you feel we need to have access to medical services in our community from the Physician of our choice.
Please email comments to bjshaw@sympatico.ca before January 5.
I thank you for your time.
Regards,
Barbara Shaw