UPDATE: Windsor lawyer has Chatham eye doctor in his sights
**This story has been updated to include a new practice restriction put in place on Dr. Anjema by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario**
An eye doctor with a practice in Chatham and Sarnia is facing more fallout after allegations of shoddy medical practices and inappropriate billing.
A Windsor lawyer is looking into whether a class action lawsuit should be launched against Ophthalmoligist Christopher Anjema after he was accused of being incompetent when caring for his patients. A patient complained she did not get proper treatment by Dr. Anjema at the Emergency Department at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance when she showed up with pain in her eye and loss of vision a week following cataract surgery.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is also investigating if Dr. Anjema inappropriately billed the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) by ordering or conducting unnecessary tests and investigations, which the CPSO said constitutes disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct. The Toronto Star revealed Anjema billed OHIP roughly $4.1 million in 2017-2018 and approximately $31 million since 2011.
On September 16, 2019, the CPSO imposed a new restriction on Dr. Anjema, requiring him to stop performing a specific cosmetic eyelid surgery called “blepharoplasty” because he currently does not have a College-approved clinical supervisor in place. The CPSO said as a result, Dr. Anjema must cease to perform blepharoplasty procedures until a new clinical supervisor is obtained. Since May of 2018, Anjema has had to perform cosmetic eyelid surgery under the guidance of a clinical supervisor acceptable to the college. He has also completed an education and remediation program.
Personal Injury Lawyer Greg Monforton said he decided to look into the matter after a significant number of patients called his office.
“Our firm has been contacted by a number of people who are concerned about the allegations that have been made against Doctor Anjema,” Monforton said.
Monforton said a class action lawsuit may be launched once all pertinent investigations are complete and added he wants to be fair to the process.
“If it ultimately comes to pass that Doctor Anjema’s practices, billings-related or otherwise, were in any way improper, if that turns out to be the case, then we’ll be looking at the institution of class proceedings on behalf of those affected,” he added.
Monforton said it’s difficult to say right now how big the potential lawsuit could get.
“There’s no way of knowing how big it will get because I don’t know how many patients Doctor Anjema had or has. That remains to be seen,” said Monforton.
Monforton’s firm put a post on its Facebook page asking people to come forward.
A communications consultant to the Anjema Eye Institute has responded to the possible lawsuits in a statement.
“This paid advertising placement has been running for weeks so it’s nothing new,” said Bob Pickard. “We live in a free country and social media ads that could appear calculated to commercialize controversy are nothing out of the ordinary. Some people call this manner of monetization marketing ‘ambulance chasing.'”
Dr. Anjema has an upcoming disciplinary hearing at the CPSO in Toronto but a date has not been set yet. He could lose his licence or face a suspension if he is found guilty of professional misconduct.
“As many of you may know, I have been in the news recently. The recent publicity comes with some questions, which will be properly answered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario through their hearing process, which I am confident will result in an evidence-based outcome in the interests of patients,” Dr. Anjema said in an August 29 Anjema Eye Institute Facebook post.