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In depth • Read The Globe’s full investigation
Annie Sakkab/The Globe and Mail
It took doctors 15 years to explain the 27-year-old woman’s symptoms. She has trigeminal neuralgia, an excruciatingly painful, facial nerve condition commonly known as the “suicide disease” because of instances where patients with the condition have taken their lives to end the suffering.
In a report obtained by The Globe and Mail, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s complaints committee, comprised of two physicians and one public member, notified her in February that it was formally closing her file, despite noting several factors that would “tend to support” a referral for a discipline hearing.
“The allegations, if true, are serious,” the committee says in its report. “The acts of cupping, squeezing or groping a patient’s breasts, making inappropriate and unprofessional remarks, (particularly if they were of a sexual nature) or pressing on a patient’s pelvic area without medical indication, could ground a discipline referral.
The committee said it is difficult to understand why breast or pelvic examinations were “indicated in a patient who attended with facial pain and migraines.” The report acknowledges that the college received complaints from other patients, alleging that Dr.
Gordon. “I let it slide because I really needed to get treatment,” she told The Globe.
“He was the ‘Pain Guy.’ ”
A ‘traumatizing exam’ Open this photo in gallery
Gordon administered in 2016.
Annie Sakkab/The Globe and Mail
Until Dr. Gordon suspected she had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (), a connective tissue disorder, she had no idea what was wrong with her.
From the get-go, Dr. Gordon also took an intense interest in her sex life, she told The Globe.
He invited a nurse and a resident at the hospital to watch the exam. The woman was uncomfortable and wondered why a neurologist would perform a gynecological exam, but because she believed he could help ease her symptoms, she did not object.
The exam was painful, she alleges. Dr.
Gordon poked the area around her vagina with sharp objects. He also inserted his finger in her vagina and stood there for what seemed like an eternity.
The most distressing part, she alleges, was when he put his finger in her anus without her consent. “I felt taken aback,” she told The Globe.
“I had been put through a traumatizing exam with him prodding my genitalia.”
She immediately told her parents and a friend what had happened.
In a report sent to her in February, the college’s complaints committee wrote that, “The acts of touching/penetrating the patient’s anus without consent, asking inappropriate sexual questions … and conducting a medically unnecessary vaginal examination, could ground a discipline referral.”
It said an independent expert concluded he had insufficient information to judge whether the patient consented to the exam, but he found that Dr. Gordon’s care met the profession’s standard of practice.
Dr. Gordon said he obtained informed consent and that his exam was medically appropriate, the report notes.
His lawyers have not yet filed a statement of defence.
A history of trauma
Gordon in the fall of 2015, the woman, now 35, was coping with much more than physical pain. She was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety as well as suicidal thoughts triggered by the hopelessness of living in near-constant pain.
17, 2017. That is when she attended the Wasser clinic for a follow-up, suffering from pain in her left hip.
He did not explain why a physical exam was necessary, where he intended to touch her or offer to have a nurse present, alleges the lawsuit, filed on behalf of “Jane Doe.” She left her underwear on, and explicitly told him she did not consent to a pelvic exam.
Dr. Gordon instructed her to lie back, with her hips and buttocks near the edge of the table.
He then lifted her left leg and tucked her shin under his arm. He stood facing her at the end of the table, the lawsuit alleges, and “repeatedly thrust his crotch against [her] vagina, and repeatedly touched [her] vagina with his hand.
His lawyers have not yet filed a defence to the lawsuit.
‘I was almost suicidal’
“I was desperate for help and in so much pain,” she told The Globe. “I was almost suicidal.
In 2013, she started seeing Dr. Gordon, who treated her migraines with botox injections.
At one appointment, Dr.
Gordon performed “an unnecessary and sexually motivated examination of her breast and upper/inner thigh near her pelvic area under the guise of examining her skin for stretch marks consistent with ,” according to a summary of her allegations in a report from the college.
She looked up Dr.
“It is noteworthy,” the letter says, that she can “provide almost no details,” including how long the alleged exam lasted.
Gordon “was concerned about , we would have expected him also to focus on the potentially life-threatening aspects of that syndrome.”
Gordon had agreed to resign.