Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What it feels like when you discover that your daughters’ doctor has been charged with producing child pornography

You can probably guess what it feels like, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

Horror. Until May of this year Alyce and Shira saw a pediatrician in Delaware. He was kind, accessible, and we were sad to say good-bye. When we chose to make Canada our permanent home I was on the hunt for a family doctor for the whole lot of us (in Canada children only see pediatricians for more complicated problems). But today is not the day for ranting about what I dislike about health care in Canada, because, unfortunately, today is a day for thinking about how my daughters’ doctor might have been hurting children. I will say that choosing a doctor here isn’t so much about choosing anything, but about finding the one doctor in the area who is accepting new patients and then asking nicely if they will pretty please take you on as a patient. So we were given our doctor and I hated him immediately. Ask anyone has has had to listen to my complaints since my first appointment and they will tell you: I did not like our new doctor. He was distracted, dismissive, and rude. Since our first visit I have been searching for a new doctor, but changing doctors here is impossible difficult (see above re: lack of choices). Just last week I was thinking about how I didn’t want to bring Alyce to him in a few weeks for her check-up.

And then.

Panic. A few nights ago my mum mentioned that a doctor at my clinic was charged with viewing and producing child pornography. What’s your doctor’s name again? I’m sure it’s not him, she asked.  Except that it was him.Our doctor was charged with possessing and producing child pornography at the same time as my husband and I had trusted him to care for our children’s bodies. Let me say this again, because I still can’t quite wrap my head around it: my children’s doctor has been charged with hurting children. Can’t compute. If he is guilty of these charges (I’m trying my hardest not to presume guilt, but it’s not an easy thing to do in this situation), then this so-called doctor has been looking at child pornography and producing some of his own. He has exploited beautiful, innocent children for something so very dark and terrible. What if he had hurt my children? How do I even type those words?

Rage. In the days since I found out the news, I’ve been running all our encounters with Dr. Speight through my head. There was that time when I took Shira to see him for a terrible diaper rash. He examined her naked body and I’m so angry about that. But then I remind myself that he barely even looked at her (a complaint I made loudly to my husband after the appointment). Another time he went on and on about how cute my girls are. He didn’t give me or my own medical questions the time of day, but he had plenty of time for my children. Just imagining the internal thoughts of a child pornographer, praising my young children for their beauty, makes me want to vomit. How dare he even think Alyce and Shira that way. They are are not for you, world, I think to myself. They are only mine. I grew them and nursed them and my job is to keep them safe. That their safety was threatened in this way, even though I feel confident that they were never personally harmed by this man, brings out feelings of anger I’ve never experienced before.

Sadness. I feel a terrible sadness for the children he might have exploited, for the parents who feel helpless, and for wonderful men I’ll be suspicious of in the future because of all this. I’ll never bring Alyce and Shira to a male doctor again (outside of an emergency situation), and in this way I’m charging all male doctors with the crimes of one. I know that I can’t possibly protect my children from the world, I really do. I don’t scare them with tales of scary strangers or poisoned candy, but I have already begun to teach Alyce about how wonderful her body is, and how it is for her alone, and I will do what I can to reduce exposing them to men--men who should be trusted--that might use their positions of power to harm them. I don’t want to be suspicious of people, but now, tonight, I will forgive myself a few assumptions in order to keep my girls safe.

I’m not sure what the next step is in all this. He will be in court this Friday but I don’t know yet if there will be a trial. The Cambridge clinic where he practiced (and where we are patients) has promised to look after everyone, but I just want to run away from that place. I’ll be looking around for another doctor, but like I said, that is no easy task. Mostly I will remind myself that Alyce and Shira are safe. I will send out my best thoughts to those who have been hurt by all this this.

11 comments:

  1. Danielle. I don't even know what to say. This makes me feel physically ill. I am so, so sorry. Yes, Alyce and Shira are safe. And so lucky to have you.

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  2. This is terrifying. I second finding a new clinic. Hope you can continue to recover from this awfulness, sounds like you're on your way.

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  3. I'm so sorry to read this -- sorry you and your children were in contact with this horrible man and outraged on behalf of any children he might have hurt.

    Sending you my best thoughts for emotional and spiritual healing...

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  4. Oh, my word. I'm so sorry, and so glad you're safe. I haven't got any words. I just... god.

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  5. I am so very sorry that you are going through what must be a horrifying and enraging experience. I am glad however that the allegations have come to light and hopefully will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
    As a Canadian nurse I can understand your frustrations with health care here- HOWEVER unlike in the US EVERYONE here gets FREE access to medical care, no one is left bankrupted by need for coronary bypass, chemo therapy or organ transplant. As many of my friends have worked both systems ALL have returned shaken by the inhumanity they witness by large corporate medicine practiced in the states. Not what they went into nursing to be part of!
    Call your local Health Unit and inquire about Nurse Practitioners who are accepting clients in your area. These highly trained medical practitioners have extended diagnostic skills and can write scripts for most medications as well as do referrals to specialists. They also tend to have good " people" skills and empathetic natures!Taking care of your families health means being proactive and searching for the right fit. You don't have to settle.
    And if you have still don't find what you need here free of charge in Canada you can always access US health care at cost. YOU can decide!

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  6. Thanks for your good thoughts, everyone.

    And cargillwitch, I love nurses and nurse practitioners so much, both here and in the U.S. And I love Canada's health care system and am grateful on a daily basis that our family (a family struggling to find employment and the like) isn't also having to worry about insurance. I stand behind the system in Canada, but that doesn't mean I don't have criticisms. It is not a perfect system. That Canadians have virtually no choice over their doctors is a massive failing of the system. I know people who moved to Canada a year ago and still cannot find a doctor accepting new patients. I've met people in the waiting room of my current family doctor who have traveled an hour from a different city, because there we no doctors accepting new patients (and this isn't an issue of rural medicine, either--these people lived in actual cities with a large enough population for many, many doctors). When Alyce was born I was seeing a doctor at my university health centre, but because Alyce was not a student, we were left without care! It took me three months to find a single doctor accepting new patients in TORONTO that I didn't have to travel over an hour to get to. I am not underestimating the problems faced in the U.S., and I can't imagine what it would be like to face losing everything over a medical emergency. But that doesn't mean that everything in its system is horrible, either. One thing they do well is choice. There are so.many.doctors. I deserve the freedom to have some choice over my health care provider, even in a system like Canada's.

    That being said, I think you are right that I should seek a nurse practitioner for the girls right now (though I once had a NP tell me to stop nursing Alyce at 18 months because it was too long, but that's for a different post!). I hope to one day work within the Canadian Health system. For now, it can handle my criticisms! It's tough!

    Thanks for your feedback.

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  7. I have had a few BAD experiences with this exact Doctor. While he was working in emerge. at GNGH. He has basically ruined my life and it wasn't until a couple years ago that I found any of this out about him.

    I'm glad you and your family are safe. It truly sickens me, that he is still allowed to practice medicine. Also, that he got out on bail for only $20 000.

    I know this is a couple years after the fact, but I came across your webpage while trying to find updated info on his case, i hope the bastard gets locked up for a long time(although, if he even makes it to prison that is not likely, due to "over population" which also sickens me)

    However, I do not know you, and I am not trying to be rude.. but as a stranger to you and your family, and this being my first time coming across your page..in my opinion..

    I think that you need to make this site a little more private, and maybe remove your link to your instagram.. this page and everything attatched to it, has pictures of your children. Pedophiles dont always start with just grabbing a random child from a park or school, etc.. they get attatched to specific children which they can find pictures such as these on the internet on pages like yours, and social media networks such as twitter, facebook, and intagram etc,..
    in my opinion, you are enabling them to gawk at your children and do god knows what, just because you dont have any privacy measures in place.

    Sorry, it may be harsh, but it is true.. this day and age, we have to protect ourselves and our families as much as we can, ESPECIALLY from the internet.. if you are going to be using all these social media networks and blogging sites, at least try to keep up with the ever changing privacy policies, ive given up on most sites like these because of how often they change the privacy settings and how they enable people all over the world to type in your name and find out almost everything you've ever put on the internet.
    Incase you have put up privacy blocks and such on this page or all these other links you have here.. just to let you know they are not working.. I can see it all, and like I said, I do not know you or your family what so ever. Hell, Im not even on instagram yet i can see all your photos.. so incase you have or have not changed privacy settings in a while, I suggest you do or update them.

    - A fellow human being who is disturbed by what our world is coming to, and the lack of privacy we have in this day and age.

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  8. Again, I am not trying to be rude at all,
    I urge this to you and all other mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.. out there who use sites like the ones I have mentioned..
    (If you are planning on or are using any of these sites FREQUENTLY update your privacy policies!!)

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  10. This doctor was wrongfully accused and was found not guilty in 2013. For your information. He is currently in Guelph and is the best doctor I have seen so far.

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  11. I just heard of a man in Guelph being charged with child porn. Kevin Johnston(Speight)was a doctor in Guelph, but has recently been shut down. I have to wonder if maybe the man who is charged, whom they won't name yet, is this same Kevin Johnston.

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