Decision re: Dr. Thomas Cantwell

August 28, 2009

Summary of Adjudication Tribunal Decision

(Published under Section 45(3) of the Medical Act 2005)

In the matter of a complaint against Dr. Thomas Cantwell, of St. John’s, NL, and pursuant to an Adjudication Tribunal Decision dated August 28, 2009 on the complaint:

On application by the College, made at the request of the Complainant, to close the hearing, the Tribunal found “that the necessity of protecting the Complainant and a member of the Complainant’s family against the consequences of possible disclosure of personal matters outweighed the desirability of holding the hearing in public.”

Pursuant to section 41(3) of the Medical Act, 2005, the Tribunal ordered:

  • that the public be excluded from the hearing,
  • that the name of the Complainant not be included in the Decision, and
  • that any summary of the decision published by the registrar pursuant to section 45(3) of the Medical Act, 2005 must not divulge the name of the Complainant.

Date, location and brief description of the conduct found deserving of sanction

The Complainant became a patient of Dr. Cantwell in or about December 2002. Within 12 to 15 months of the commencement of the therapeutic relationship, Dr. Cantwell engaged in an emotional and sexual relationship with the Complainant that continued on a regular basis until March 2008.

Throughout the period of the relationship, Dr. Cantwell continued to see the Complainant as his patient and continued to provide therapy for the Complainant’s psychiatric condition.

Upon becoming aware of the allegation and at the request of the registrar, Dr. Cantwell agreed to withdraw from practice and executed a withdrawal from practice form dated March 19, 2008.

By correspondence dated May 8, 2008, Dr. Cantwell provided his written response to the allegation wherein Dr. Cantwell acknowledged that he was seeing the Complainant regularly as a patient and that the relationship between he and the Complainant eventually became intimate and sexual.

Dr. Cantwell acknowledged that the relationship with the Complainant violated the boundary that is supposed to be maintained between a psychiatrist and his patient and that his behaviour was unacceptable and inappropriate.

Order of the Adjudication Tribunal

Pursuant to section 44(3) of the Medical Act, 2005, after having found that Dr. Thomas Cantwell was guilty of conduct deserving of sanction, the Adjudication Tribunal ordered as follows:

  1. Dr. Thomas Cantwell surrender his license to the Council of the College, which surrender of licence to be made and to be effective as of the conclusion of this hearing [August 25, 2009;
  2. Dr. Cantwell’s name is to be stricken from the medical and specialist registers kept under the Medical Act, 2005;
  3. Dr. Cantwell is to pay a portion of the costs incurred by the College in the investigation and hearing of the Complaint, in the agreed-upon amount of $7,500.00; and,
  4. Publication of a summary of the decision pursuant to subsection 45(3) of the Medical Act, 2005 shall not include the name of the Complainant.

The address where Dr. Thomas Cantwell last practised in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador was:

Dr. Thomas Cantwell

Waterford Hospital

306 Waterford Bridge Road

St. John's, NL A1E 4J8

Robert W. Young, MD FRCPC, Registrar