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P.E.I. surgeon accused of having sexual relationship with patient

Dr. David Ashby is shown at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Dr. David Ashby is shown at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. - File photo

Hearing into allegations against Dr. David Ashby being held Friday, Dec. 21

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A long-time Island surgeon is facing serious allegations of professional misconduct that include engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient.

Dr. David Ashby is also accused of prescribing anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications to a patient without proper diagnosis and being outside the scope of his medical practice.

He is accused of violating doctor-patient boundary by developing a personal and sexual relationship with a patient, which led to providing the patient with financial and other support and improperly prescribing medications.

All allegations against Ashby, none of which are criminal, involve the same patient.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of P.E.I., which is responsible for licensing, investigating complaints and disciplining physicians, have referred the case to a board of inquiry.

The board will hold a hearing Friday, Dec. 21 to determine if Ashby has committed an act or acts of professional misconduct under the province’s Medical Act. The hearing will continue until the board makes its decision.

These are not criminal allegations.

The College notes in a posting of the allegations against Ashby that if the doctor does not attend the hearing, the board may proceed in his absence and Ashby will be given no further notice of the proceedings.

If the board finds that Ashby has committed an act or acts of professional misconduct, the board may take one or more of the following actions: license revoked, suspension, restrictions on his ability to practice, reprimand, fine up to $25,000.

A native of Montreal, the 72-year-old Ashby has practiced on P.E.I. all his life.

He worked at the Prince Edward Island Hospital from 1977 until the QEH opened in 1982, where he has been practicing ever since with one rather jolting interruption.

In 2007, Ashby voluntarily withdrew from performing surgical procedures when he tested positive for hepatitis C in association with a routine physical examination.

He returned to work in the QEH operating room in early 2009 after receiving treatment and results from tests that confirmed he no longer had hepatitis C.

Ashby, who has served as volunteer chairman of the QEH Friends of Life Campaign, currently assists in general surgery at the Charlottetown hospital.

Ashby returned a call from The Guardian on Tuesday, but declined the opportunity to speak to the allegations.

“I cannot make any comment at the moment,’’ he said.

He did, however, acknowledge somberly that he could use “all the friends I can get’’ at this troubling time.

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