Disciplinary Action against
Dr. Jennifer Armstrong

Findings of the Discipline Committeeof the
Ontario College of Phjysicians and Surgeons
15 Dc 2014

On December 15, 2014, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Armstrong committed an act of professional misconduct in that she has failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession with respect to one patient. Dr. Armstrong admitted to the allegation.

Dr. Armstrong is a general practitioner with a special interest and additional training in environmental medicine. Patient A was 19 years old at the time Dr. Armstrong met and treated her.

Patient A first attended on Dr. Armstrong in December 2010. Dr. Armstrong noted that Patient A did not currently have a family doctor. In addition to a recent Form 1 stay at the hospital of which Dr. Armstrong was aware, Patient A's mother also reported Patient A's previous suicide attempts and hospitalisations. Patient A's mother also provided a summary of Patient A's medical history, including a history of cognitive decline and seizures and reported that Patient A had been treated by a physician practising environmental medicine in the past and had improved considerably.

Patient A attended on Dr. Armstrong on 3 occasions. On each occasion, in assessing Patient A, Dr. Armstrong failed to perform any mental health assessments. Dr. Armstrong recommended a regime of IV Vitamins which were administered between December 2010 and April 2011. Dr. Armstrong also treated Patient A with minerals and amino acids and lowered Patient A's thyroid medication in response to tests.

Dr. Armstrong did not see Patient A again after April 2011. In May, 2011, Dr. Armstrong subsequently learned that Patient A committed suicide. The College received a report about Patient A's death from the Office of the Chief Coroner in September 2012, and commenced an investigation into Dr. Armstrong's care of Patient A.

Dr. Armstrong took no steps to investigate or treat Patient A's mental health issues. Nor did she take any steps to assist Patient A in finding a primary care physician or other specialist. Dr. Armstrong did not refer Patient A to a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional. Patient A did not find a family physician.

The independent assessor retained by the College concluded that Dr. Armstrong's care and treatment of Patient A failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession and opined as follows:

There were no conventional treatments offered or documented for her psychiatric symptoms. Patient was not treated for her psychiatric symptoms by another physician according to the chart. Dr. Armstrong did not refer this patient to another physician for the psychiatric symptoms or her seizures. The patient did not have a family physician. Instead, Dr. Armstrong concentrated on giving vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which are not the standard of care. Her focus regarding this patient was on chemical sensitivities and metal toxicities.

The Committee ordered and directed that: 

Dr. Armstrong appear before the panel to be reprimanded.

The Registrar impose the following terms, conditions and limitations on Dr. Armstrong's certificate of registration:

(a) Dr. Armstrong shall engage in clinical supervision and a reassessment of her practice in accordance with the terms of her undertaking, attached to this Order;

(b) Effective immediately, Dr. Armstrong will require that all of her current patients have a family physician or certified specialist who will provide concurrent care and to whom she will send information about all treatment she initiates or she has initiated and any changes to that treatment that she provides to the patient. Dr. Armstrong will provide each of her current patients (ie. patients of hers as of the date of this Undertaking) with a period of 45 days to obtain care from a primary care physician or appropriate specialist, and will not take on any new patient who does not have a primary care physician or appropriate specialist. Dr. Armstrong will cease treating any of her current patients who have not arranged concurrent care as set out above by January 31, 2015; and

(c) Dr. Armstrong shall post a sign in her waiting room and each of her examination rooms, in each of her practice locations, in a clearly visible location, that states: "I require that all of my current patients have a family physician or certified specialist who will provide concurrent care and to whom I will send information about all treatment I initiate or have initiated and any changes to that treatment that I provide to our shared patient. I will provide each current patient with a period of 45 days from December 15, 2014 to obtain care from a primary care physician or appropriate specialist, and will not take on any new patient who does not have a primary care physician or appropriate specialist. I will cease treating any current patient who has not arranged concurrent care as set out above by January 31 2015." 

Dr. Armstrong pay costs to the College in the amount of $4,460.00, within 60 days of the date of this Order.

Appeal: No Appeal

This page was posted on January 8, 2015