A “disgraced” female doctor in Canada has been slammed by a panel for taking advantage of an “emaciated” cancer patient after she had sex with him in his hospital bed — during his treatment.
Theepa Sundaralingam was stripped of her licence on Wednesday by a disciplinary panel at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in Toronto — she was found guilty of sexually abusing a patient.
The 37-year-old’s affair with her patient reportedly began when she gave him her Instagram handle and personal phone number a day after delivering his devastating diagnosis.
After sending the ill man flirty messages, it then turned physical — hugging and kissing him before eventually progressing into Sundaralingam masturbating and having intercourse with her patient — in his hospital bed.
“From virtually the beginning of your doctor/patient relationship, you crossed boundaries and ultimately sexually abused an extremely vulnerable patient suffering from a life-threatening illness,” discipline panel chair John Langs told Sundaralingam in an official reprimand, as the doctor stood in the middle of the room facing the panel
Sundaralingam, who treated the man 23 times between January and July 2015 and once in March 2016, pleaded no contest, meaning she was not admitting guilt but consented to the panel accepting the allegations as fact, The Star reported.
The panel described her behaviour as “abusive” and “abhorrent”.
According to the publication, a statement of uncontested facts said she visited Patient A a number of times at his home, where he lived with his family, and would spend hours with him in his bedroom engaging in sexual activities.
Phone sex was also a regular activity.
Other encounters included her visiting the man in hospital after she had been drinking and engaging in “mutual; sexual touching”. She also tried to masturbate the patient in his hospital bed but was interrupted when a friend walked in, The Star reported.
After becoming concerned the college would become aware of their sexual and inappropriate relationship, she asked the patient to delete their texts and to keep their relationship a secret — which he did as instructed.
After asking him to remove her name from any visitor’s log at the hospital she ended the affair in 2015, telling him she was in love with a colleague.
The man, who cannot be named, said: “It’s difficult for me to talk to anybody about it because the reality is that I’m a male so for me to say, ‘Hey, I dated my oncologist,’ it wouldn’t be a surprise for someone to say ‘Cool.’ But that’s not cool.
“That’s not the case because I feel abused, and it’s very difficult as a male to come out and say that about a female. It’s usually the other way around.
“I was physically emaciated and emotionally exposed and the loss of a critical relationship defeated me.”
He went on to say that what compounded the toll was her refusal to continue providing medical care for him at the same time.
“At the time, I was unable to see the ramifications of dating my treating oncologist. I couldn’t see how vulnerable I was and how much power she had over me.”
The panel told Sundaralingam that she was responsible for her patient’s health, care and support, but instead took advantage of him for her own personal satisfaction.
“You then withdrew that support for your own personal preference at a time when your patient was at his lowest point. You have disgraced yourself and the profession.”
Sundaralingam must now pay $CA16,000 ($AU22,000) to cover patient therapy costs, and an additional $CA6000 ($AU8250) to cover the discipline hearing costs, The Star reports.