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August 24th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 33
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Crowsnest doctor surrenders licence to practise medicine
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
"The Group"
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Since the 1990s, South African born physician Dr. Johannes Maritz has owned and operated the Mountainside Medical Clinic out of the former Alberta Hotel on main street in Blairmore.

Then in the spring of 2015, facing over 20 criminal charges, Maritz surrendered his licence to practise medicine, says his friend and advocate Gord Kennedy.

Now a group of citizens has formed an organization called “The Group,” and launched a campaign in support of the doctor.

Kennedy, spokesperson for The Group, said the organization was formed in July and has grown to about 160 members.

“We want to see the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta to look at Dr. Maritz’s case and get him back to work,” said Kennedy. “We’ve got a lot of people in town who want their doctor back.”

Kennedy said the criminal investigation against Maritz was launched in the spring of last year. He said Maritz voluntarily surrendered his medical licence believing he would be quickly cleared of the charges and allowed to resume his practice.

“He was wrong,” said Kennedy. “It didn’t happen quickly.”

Mountainside Medical remains closed and Maritz is still not allowed to practice medicine, he said.
continued below ...
Kennedy would not elaborate on the nature of the charges against Maritz but said they are, “related to his personal life.”

“There’s been no secret that he had a family break up,” he said. “He was under enormous strain in his personal life. He was worn out. He was stressed.”
Kelly Eby, director of communications for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), would not elaborate on the charges against Maritz. She said the CPSA must adhere to the privacy legislation contained in the Health Professions Act.

“The only thing I can clarify for you about Dr. Maritz is that he is not currently practising medicine,” she said.

Eby explained that in cases when a physician is charged with a criminal offence, the CPSA’s primary goal is to protect the public. In order to do this, the college can impose practice conditions such as requiring a doctor to be chaperoned at work.

The CPSA can also temporarily suspend a physician while it conducts an investigation or the physician may also voluntarily withdraw from practice.

If the physician is temporarily suspended or has voluntarily withdrawn from practice, the college may wait for the closure of the court case before conducting an investigation, said Eby.

If an investigation reveals serious breaches of professionalism, a disciplinary hearing may be scheduled. If that occurs, details about the hearing will be posted on the CPSA website.

Physicians who go to a disciplinary hearing may receive sanctions, which could include limitations on their practice or fines. They may also be required to attend educational courses or take additional training.

The college has the ability to temporarily suspend a physician or, in extreme cases, to permanently strike a physician from the register. If the suspension is temporary, the physician often has the opportunity to return to practice as long as they meet all the other conditions of the disciplinary hearing.

“I understand the lack of detail I can provide on this particular physician is frustrating,” said Eby.
continued below ...
“But we operate under specific legislation and are very limited in what we can release.”

Kennedy accused the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) of needlessly prolonging their investigation, which has left Maritz in limbo.

“Here’s a man out of work while he’s being investigated, that’s a major concern,” he said.

In response to the apparent dithering on the part of the CPSA, The Group has begun a letter writing campaign to try and speed things along.

Kennedy said The Group has appealed to the CPSA, Alberta Health, the Alberta Medical Association, the minister of health and even the premier but to no avail.

“There’s been absolutely no response,” he said.

On Aug. 14, The Group held a garden party to show support for the doctor. Maritz, members of his family and over 100 guests were in attendance.
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August 24th ~ Vol. 85 No. 33
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