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CAUT Bulletin Archives

February 2009

Report Vindicates Dal Prof

Six-year ordeal ends for Dalhousie medical oncologist Michael Goodyear.
Six-year ordeal ends for Dalhousie medical oncologist Michael Goodyear.
After an unprecedented six-year ordeal, Dr. Michael Goodyear, a professor of medicine at Dalhousie University, has been cleared of all allegations that led to his suspension in 2002 by the chief of medicine at Dalhousie’s affiliated hospital, the Capital District Health Authority.

In a written decision issued last month, CDHA’s board of directors found no merit to charges against Goodyear and ordered that he be returned to the status he held in 2002.

CAUT executive director James Turk said he was pleased with the findings that followed a 23-day hearing before a board-appointed committee, but the whole process was unacceptably slow and changes need to be made to ensure that something similar cannot happen again.

“We are delighted the board found Dr. Goodyear innocent of all charges against him and ordered his reinstatement,” Turk said.     

“Unfortunately, the board report was silent on the issue of compensating Dr. Goodyear for the enormous losses — financial and otherwise — that he has suffered since 2002,” Turk said. “We are pressing Capital Health and Dalhousie to fully compensate him for his lost earnings, his lost research and the damage to his reputation and his academic career.”

As a result of the actions CDHA took against him in late 2002 and early 2003, Goodyear lost his right to practice medicine, do research, teach and fulfill his other duties as a professor of medicine. His salary was reduced by 86 per cent which forced him into bankruptcy.

“Dr. Goodyear’s case highlights the urgent need for changes to procedures in the province’s medical bylaws so that allegations can be dealt with in a fair and timely manner, and not drag on for years,” Turk said, adding that CAUT has written to Nova Scotia’s health minister seeking a meeting around the issue.

CAUT has also written to Dalhousie president Tom Traves about the university’s obligation to restore Goodyear to his rightful role as a professor of medicine in light of his exoneration.

“This will necessarily mean the university taking creative steps to see that he is able to resume his teaching, research and service with­in the department of medicine, given all the barriers that exist as a result of his long ordeal,” wrote Turk.

He also said CAUT would be pressing the university to revise its affiliation agreement with Capital Health so that professors of medicine cannot have their academic careers damaged by unilateral actions of hospital authorities.

Goodyear’s ordeal started in Oc­tober 2002 when Dr. Elizabeth Cowden, CDHA district chief of medicine and Dalhousie’s chair of medicine, restricted his right to practice medicine because of concerns raised by colleagues about his medical decisions in several cases.