News Release

Discipline Committee Decisions

Dr. Gerald Wayne Powell, Ottawa; Dr. Robin Charles Woollam, Mississauga; Dr. Alvin Wah Wing Lau, Toronto; Dr. Stanley Bo-Shui Chung, Toronto; Dr. Walid Abawi, Toronto

Feb 25, 2014

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (“the College”) released the results of its most recent disciplinary hearings.  The College is the licensing and disciplinary body for physicians in Ontario.  Hearings are held to review allegations of professional misconduct and incompetence, and are open to the public.  The following are brief summaries of recent discipline hearing results.  The Discipline Committee’s full decisions and reasons for decisions are posted on the College’s website as they become available.  Full decisions are located by entering the doctor’s name in the Doctor Search section of the College’s website at www.cpso.on.ca.

Dr. Gerald Wayne Powell, Ottawa. On February 3, 2014, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Powell committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct. Dr. Powell admitted to the allegation. 

Dr. Powell treated Patient A from about 1995 to about 1998 in a psychotherapeutic treating relationship, which ended in November 1998. Dr. Powell and Patient A began a romantic relationship shortly after termination of the doctor-patient relationship. Their relationship included hugging, followed by kissing commencing in or about February 1999 and sexual intercourse commencing in about September 1999. Patient A and Dr. Powell planned to get married and Dr. Powell was looking for a home for them to move in together.  Their personal, sexual relationship lasted between four and a half and five years.

Patient B

Dr. Powell treated Patient B from about 1994 to about May 2004 in a psychotherapeutic treating relationship. Patient B's last appointment with Dr. Powell was on or about May 5, 2004. They saw each other almost daily after the termination of the doctor-patient relationship. He engaged in a sexual relationship with Patient B four to six weeks after termination of the doctor-patient relationship. Patient B did not complain to the College about Dr. Powell's conduct; the relationship came to the College's attention through Patient A.

The Discipline Committee ordered a public reprimand and a nine-month suspension of Dr. Powell’s certificate of registration, effective immediately. The Committee also ordered that the following term, condition and limitation be imposed on Dr. Powell's certificate of registration:

  • Powell must successfully complete, at his own expense, the Understanding Boundaries and Managing the Risks Inherent in the Doctor-Patient Relationship course; and College-facilitated instruction in Ethics.

Dr. Powell was further ordered to pay the College costs in the amount of $4,460.

Dr. Robin Charles Woollam, Mississauga. On February 5, 2014, Dr. Woollam pleaded no contest, and the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Woollam committed acts of professional misconduct, in that he sexually abused a patient, and he engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct. Dr. Woollam admitted, and the Discipline Committee found that he has been found guilty of an offence that is relevant to his suitability to practise.

Dr. Woollam was criminally charged on October 16, 2009, with sexual assault against Patient A, contrary to section 271 of the Criminal Code.  He was convicted on November 24, 2010. Dr. Woollam received a 12-month conditional sentence, followed by probation for a term of one year. Dr. Woollam's practice has been restricted to male patients since January 5, 2011. Dr. Woollam unsuccessfully appealed the decision to the Divisional Court and to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. A panel of three judges of the Court of Appeal issued their reasons dismissing leave to appeal on November 21, 2013.

At the time of the incident Patient A was 21 years old. She had been a patient of Dr. Woollam's since 2005. Patient A was experiencing issues with kidney stones and ovarian cysts around the time of the incident. During a follow up examination with respect to her cysts, Dr. Woollam palpated her upper abdomen and checked her ovaries then began rubbing her stomach and talking to her. Dr. Woollam put his hand under her pants and underwear and began moving his fingers in a back and forth motion on her labia and clitoris. Dr. Woollam also touched her breast. Patient A described being scared and silent. Dr. Woollam told her that he was attracted to her and asked if she wanted to take things further.

Patient A indicated that she did not and Dr. Woollam apologized repeatedly.  Patient A told Dr. Woollam that he had crossed the line.

The Discipline Committee ordered a public reprimand and directed that Dr. Woollam's certificate of registration be revoked, effective immediately. Dr. Woollam was ordered to reimburse the College for funding provided to patients by posting an irrevocable letter of credit or other security acceptable to the College by May 5, 2014, in the amount of $16,060.

Dr. Woollam was further ordered to pay the College costs in the amount of $4,460.

Dr. Alvin Wah Wing Lau, Toronto. On December 2, 2013, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Lau, a family physician, committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct.

On August 21, 2007, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Lau had failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession, in that he failed to conduct a physical examination of four obstetrical patients and did not take a history of three of those patients, but noted on the patient record that he had done so. 

The Discipline Committee ordered, among other things, that Dr. Lau's certificate of registration be suspended for 12 months (four months of which suspension would itself be suspended if Dr. Lau completed College-approved courses in Ethics and Communications Skills) and that terms, conditions and limitations be placed upon Dr. Lau's certificate of registration.

Dr. Lau admits that he did not seek guidance or advice from the College regarding compliance with the 2007 Order of the Discipline Committee where a patient requested that the monitor not be present; and he did not apply to vary the terms of the Order of the Discipline Committee to address situations where a patient requested that the monitor not be present.

Dr. Lau admits that he failed to comply with the terms, conditions and limitations imposed by the Discipline Committee on his certificate of registration on August 21, 2007, in that he permitted the monitor to be absent from the room in response to specific patient requests. On December 2, 2013, Dr. Lau also made a motion to vary the Committee's Order of August 21, 2007. The Discipline Committee reserved its decision on the motion and reserved its decision on the penalty.

On February 5, 2014, the Discipline Committee ordered a public reprimand and directed that Dr. Lau pay costs to the College in the amount of $4,460. Also on February 5, 2014, the Discipline Committee denied Dr. Lau's motion to vary the Committee's Order of August 21, 2007.

Dr. Stanley Bo-Shui Chung, Toronto.  On February 10, 2014, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Chung committed acts of professional misconduct, in that he failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession, and he engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct with respect to Ms. A and in respect of 10 other patients.

Ms. A was a regular patient of Dr. Chung from 1987 to 1991. Dr. Chung failed to maintain the standard of practice by performing vaginal examinations repeatedly at a time when she was virginal, and by repeated unnecessary rectovaginal examinations. He performed intimate examinations that were not clinically indicated. The Committee also found this conduct unprofessional. Further, conducting frequent, unnecessary intimate examinations displayed thoughtlessness, disrespect and a lack of sensitivity. It was also unprofessional not to ensure that the drape available to the patient was appropriately used and to assist her on one occasion with her bra and on one other occasion with her underwear.

Patient 3
Dr. Chung failed to maintain the standard of practice by conducting repeat vaginal examinations at a time when this patient was virginal and not experiencing any significant gynaecological problems. This pattern of care was carried out without sensitivity to the intimate nature of the examinations. The Committee found this approach to be unreasonable, offensive, overzealous and not in the interest of the patient. The Committee also found this to be unprofessional conduct.

Patients 4, 8, 16 and 18
Dr. Chung failed to maintain the standard of practice by conducting excessive vaginal examinations on these patients in early pregnancy. Conducting repeat vaginal examination to assess fetal growth is not the standard of practice of the profession. The Committee also found this, and Dr. Chung's insensitivity, thoughtlessness and disrespect in performing this number of vaginal examinations when these patients were in early pregnancy and extraordinarily vulnerable, to be unprofessional conduct.

Patient 9
Dr. Chung failed to maintain the standard of practice by conducting more pelvic examinations than justified in the first trimester of pregnancy and by performing excessive rectovaginal examinations with respect to this patient. The Committee also found this, and Dr. Chung's insensitivity and thoughtlessness in performing unnecessary examinations, to be unprofessional conduct.

Patients 10 and 14
Dr. Chung failed to maintain the standard of practice by performing unnecessary vaginal examinations during the first trimester of pregnancy and by attempting to do unnecessary vaginal examinations when these patients were virginal. The Committee also found this to be unprofessional conduct. In performing examinations of no value, Dr. Chung demonstrated an insensitivity, thoughtlessness and disrespect. Regarding Patient 10, it was not appropriate to attempt a vaginal examination at the mother's request.

Patient 17
Dr. Chung failed to maintain the standard of practice by repeatedly attempting vaginal examinations on this virginal patient. The Committee was shocked by the number of attempts to do a vaginal examination on this young woman who was not sexually active, virginal and was developmentally challenged. To repeatedly respond to requests from a parent to assure virginity is unsupportable. In acting in this matter, Dr. Chung displayed disrespect and insensitivity.

Patient 19
Dr. Chung failed to maintain the standard of practice by conducting an unjustified vaginal examination of a virginal patient, by repeated unnecessary rectovaginal examinations, and more vaginal examinations than necessary in the first trimester of pregnancy. The Committee also found this to be unprofessional conduct. Dr. Chung's unthinking and mechanical behaviour displayed an insensitivity and neglect of the patient's dignity that on its own would support a finding of unprofessional conduct.

A penalty hearing is yet to be scheduled.

Dr. Walid Abawi, Toronto. On September 12, 2013, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. Abawi committed an act of professional misconduct, in that he engaged in disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct.

The Committee found that while working at a hospital, Dr. Abawi led a nurse into a bathroom, and made unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances and remarks, tried to hug her and kiss her twice and then rested his body against the closed bathroom door. When the nurse stated she was leaving, Dr. Abawi did not stand in her way. The Committee found that in the context of the encounter, Dr. Abawi briefly confined the nurse without her consent, by his unwanted advances, his physical blocking of the door and the resulting psychological intimidation.

On February 10, 2014, the Discipline Committee ordered a public reprimand and a four-month suspension of Dr. Abawi’s certificate of registration. The Committee also directed that a number of terms, conditions and limitations be imposed on Dr. Abawi's certificate of registration, including that:



  • Dr. Abawi shall successfully complete, at his own expense, individualized instruction in professionalism and medical ethics with a College approved instructor;
  • Dr. Abawi shall be subject to workplace monitoring by a regulated health professional who is approved by the College.  Monitoring shall continue for a minimum period of 18 months at each of Dr. Abawi's practice locations and shall cease at that time unless the College, in its sole discretion, determines that Dr. Abawi's conduct in the workplace is unsatisfactory. If it is determined that his conduct in the workplace is unsatisfactory, the monitoring shall continue until his conduct is deemed satisfactory by the College;
  • The Practice Monitor(s) shall work at the same location as Dr. Abawi and shall be required, among other things to:
  1. provide written reports to the College on a monthly basis regarding Dr. Abawi's conduct, behaviour, and professionalism;
  2. provide immediate reporting to the College if the Practice Monitor has any concerns about Dr. Abawi's conduct, behaviour or professionalism or forms the view that patients or people in the workplace may be at risk of harm or forms the view that he is not in compliance with the panel's Order;
  • If a Practice Monitor is unable or unwilling to continue, or the College determines the Practice Monitor is no longer acceptable, Dr. Abawi shall, within 20 days of receiving notice of same, obtain a similarly qualified person who is acceptable to the College. If Dr. Abawi is unable to obtain a Practice Monitor on the terms set out in this Order, he shall cease practicing medicine until such time as he has obtained a Practice Monitor acceptable to the College;
  • With respect to Dr. Abawi's locum coverage at Temiskaming Hospital, Dr. Abawi shall provide the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Surgery with copies of the Discipline Committee decision dated September 12, 2013 and a copy the penalty Order. The College will inquire into Dr. Abawi's conduct, behaviour and professionalism at Temiskaming Hospital on a quarterly basis.
  • Dr. Abawi shall be responsible for any and all costs associated with implementing the terms of this Order.

Dr. Abawi was further ordered to pay the College costs in the amount of $26,760.