Former Nakusp doctor suspended for having sexual relations with patient

A former Nakusp physician has been handed a two-year licence suspension for having sexual relations with a patient in the village.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia made the ruling against Dr. Norman Lea last August, and released the decision earlier this month.

The College said Lea admitted he had “engaged in unprofessional conduct by entering into a personal and sexual relationship with an individual while the individual was his patient.” The incidents took place between August and December 2018, and included flirtatious and sexualized messages, and physical relations.

“[T]hey had sexual intercourse at his medical clinic, in the on-call room at the Arrow Lakes Hospital, and at other locations around the community,” the College notification, released January 5, revealed.

The notification also said the disciplinary committee investigating the case was critical of Lea’s conduct.

“The committee stated that the registrant violated boundaries in the patient-physician relationship by not only entering a sexual and intimate relationship with a patient, but doing so during her scheduled appointments with him in his office,” it noted. “The committee expressed its concerns that Dr. Lea practised in a small, rural community, and conveyed that this practice setting requires an even greater degree of caution.”

As part of his punishment, Lea agreed to having his licence suspended for two years, a change in his licence designation to “conditional-disciplined,” having a full reprimand published, completion of a multi-disciplinary program, attend an interview at the College with the registrar, and comply with any monitoring of his practice in the future.

The ruling has been in effect since August 2021.

Lea was a popular physician in Nakusp, serving the community for over 20 years. He served as chief of staff for Nakusp and New Denver. Lea was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 “for his dedication for ensuring medical coverage and services to residents.”

He announced in 2021 he was leaving the community to move to the Okanagan. (See ‘New chief of staff announced as Dr. Norm Lea winds down his practice in Nakusp,’ Valley Voice, February 25, 2021)

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice