Regulators Cannot Easily Resolve Personal Conflicts between Colleagues

Dr. Al-Ghamdi, a physician, had difficulties with some of the nurses with whom he worked. He made complaints against four of them to their regulatory body, the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). The Court summarized the concerns as follows:

Dr. Al-Ghamdi’s affidavit affirms that he complained to CARNA about the actions of two nurses. In the affidavit, he alleges that one of these nurses acted outside her scope of practice, blackmailed him “by informing that [he] had reported her to CARNA, and that her staff created a hostile workplace for him.” He accuses a second nurse of blocking his patient from access to surgery, of being evasive and abusive, of being a difficult person and a friend of the first nurse he had reported to CARNA. He further alleges that this nurse hid equipment so that there was a delay in his patient’s surgery. He then alleges that these two nurses accused him of falsely threatening the second nurse, and then used their connections and authority to influence other staff to write a petition saying they would not work with him.

Dr. Al-Ghamdi’s affidavit then names a third nurse, a close friend of the first nurse and “a notorious person,” as the person who was behind the petition. He then accuses a fourth nurse of telling the mother of a child patient that the child’s surgery would not happen unless she changed surgeons.

The complaints were all investigated and dismissed. Dr. Al-Ghamdi sought judicial review on numerous grounds related to procedure. In Al-Ghamdi v College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, 2017 ABQB 685, the Court dismissed all of his concerns. It found that the regulator did not have to interview all of the witnesses proposed by a complainant. It also was puzzled by Dr. Al-Ghamdi’s assertions that the regulator should not rely on information provided by third parties. The Court did not accept that complainants have a right to access the complete investigator’s report of the investigation. It also rejected bald allegations of bias against College staff. The Court went on to accept the regulator’s request that Dr. Al-Ghamdi be declared a vexatious litigant. The decision also dealt with a number of additional claims against other parties as well.

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