Disgraced former Toronto doctor reprimanded for having sex with patients
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More than four years after he was found to have sexually abused four female patients, a former Toronto surgeon appeared before a disciplinary panel Monday to be publicly reprimanded for his “disgraceful” and “dishonourable” behaviour.
In a blistering, three-minute speech delivered at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario headquarters, Dr. Jacobo Joffe was chastised for “cast(ing) a shadow upon the whole profession” when he wilfully engaged in sexual relations with four women who had gone to him for weight-loss surgery.
“Your actions were utterly self-serving,” said panel member Dr. Marc Gabel. “You preyed upon the vulnerabilities of these patients and misused the trust that they had in you.”
Joffe, once a respected general surgeon in Toronto who, according to his website, now runs a bariatric surgery clinic in Guadalajara, Mexico, refused to comment when approached outside the college late Monday afternoon.
Joffe had his certificate of registration revoked in 2008 after he pleaded no contest to four allegations of sexual abuse by the college. No criminal charges were laid.
He failed to appear at his public reprimand in 2009, forcing the panel to deliver the speech to an empty chair.
A college spokesperson said Joffe requested that another reprimand be scheduled so he could attend. It remains unclear why he made the request, but failure to attend a public reprimand is frowned upon by the college.
According to college’s written decision released in 2009, Joffe’s dalliances with patients spanned several years and took place in number of settings including patient homes, his office and a hospital.
Two patients, named only as patients A and B to protect their identities, began sexual relations with the surgeon during follow-up care in 2003. According to the document, Joffe “would hug and kiss (them) on their lips and tell them how attractive they were.”
By 2004, Joffe began to visit A and B at their homes every two weeks and engaged in a range of sexual acts with them, “both separately and together,” until 2006.
The decision also stated that Joffe had sex with two other patients who had gone to him for weight-loss surgery and, “knowing the professional consequences to him,” actively tried to keep all four affairs a secret.