A former psychiatrist who practised in Halifax and taught at Dalhousie University will never practise over allegations that he took nude photos of a teenage patient.
Curtis Steele agreed to give up his licence after an investigation by the province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Steele practised in the province from his move to Nova Scotia in 1988 until 2013. In 2013, one of his former patients filed a complaint against him with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The patient was 14 years old when she started seeing Steele in 2003. The decision from the college says one of the girl’s parents worked with Steele and considered him a friend.
A committee that investigated the complaint found a number of concerns about Steele’s behaviour, including Steele allegedly taking nude photographs of his 14-year-old patient, as well as prescribing the drug Paxil without a supporting diagnosis.
“Dr. Steele lacked the necessary insight expected of a psychiatrist in failing to immediately recognize the impropriety of taking the photographs,” the college ruling says.
“The allegations are serious and profoundly disturbing.” – Dr. Gus Grant, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Steele has agreed to the terms of the college’s settlement to stop practising medicine and never apply for a licence again.
He will also have to pay $5,000 to help cover the college’s costs of the investigation. Steele admitted to professional misconduct, but not necessarily the facts outlined in the agreement.
The college released its decision Wednesday morning.
“I can’t imagine complaints of a more serious nature,” said Dr. Gus Grant, the registrar and CEO of the college. “The allegations are serious and profoundly disturbing.”
Grant says the incident could lead to charges.
“The nature of the allegations that the college considered are serious and potentially will involve the criminal court system,” he said.
Two more complaints outstanding
Meanwhile, Steele still faces two complaints from former patients, including another case filed by the patient who was 14 years old when he treated her in 2003.
A second case, filed last year, alleges Steele made inappropriate sexual advances toward a male patient using a dildo.
Steele practised at the Community Mental Health Clinic at the Capital District Health Authority, as well as at a small private practice.
Steele was also a faculty member at Dalhousie University’s Department of Psychiatry, but retired in 2013. He hadn’t taught medical students in over a decade, says Dalhousie spokeswoman Allison Gerrard.