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North Island emergency room doctor restricted over patient safety concerns: Island Health

Island Health says a North Island emergency room doctor has been restricted from working in its emergency rooms over patient safety concerns.

The response from Island Health vice-president of medicine Dr. Ben Williams follows comments from Dr. Alex Nataros to media, saying his privileges are being restricted due to publicly calling for Dr. Williams’ resignation and/or in relation to his dog being in the workplace.

The statement from Dr. Williams in response says events leading to Dr. Nataros’ loss of privileges started on Jan. 30, after a patient complaint relating to care delivered by Dr. Nataros in the Port Hardy emergency room.

Dr. Williams says the complaint was “serious and gave rise to concerns about Dr. Nataros’ ability to practice in the emergency department.”

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An investigation followed and he says the information brought to him “heightened” his concern. He says Dr. Nataros had the opportunity to share from his point of view on Feb. 1 with Island Health medical leaders.

Dr. Williams says he considered all the information provided, including a summary from the meeting, and consultations with other senior medical leaders.

He says while finalizing the letter to Dr. Nataros to restrict his privileges on Feb. 2, Dr. Williams became aware of Dr. Nataros’ comments on social media calling for his resignation and accusation of harassment.

He says this did not affect his decision making, as it had already been made.

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Dr. Nataros has been calling for the introduction of physician assistants to aid emergency room doctors and faces being the only physician in the Port Hardy emergency room come July 1.

He adds he will be taking part in a news conference with the BC Green Party in Victoria tomorrow.

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