January 19th, 2021

Alberta surgeon who hung a noose in a hospital found guilty of unprofessional conduct


By The Canadian Press on January 13, 2021.

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – A surgeon in northwestern Alberta has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct for hanging a rope in the shape of a noose on an operating room door.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta says that Dr. Wynand Wessels acted with the intention of sending a message that could be interpreted as “intimidating or threatening.”

But the decision by a college hearing tribunal says there was not enough evidence to show that Wessels was motivated by racism.

The rope was put up on a door leading to an operating room at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie, Alta., on June 24, 2016.

A hearing into the incident was told Dr. Wessels grew up in South Africa during Apartheid and liked making knots.

Wessels suggested the gesture was about team-building and was not directed at any person but the decision says it was seen as violent and racist by many colleagues.

The college says sanctions will be determined at a later hearing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021.

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