OCTOBER 15, 2007
VOLUME 4 NO. 17

PATIENTS & PRACTICE

MD author off the hook: military

Criminal investigation called off, but ethics probe continues



Kevin Patterson

The Department of National Defence (DND) has dropped its criminal investigation into BC internist and author Kevin Patterson's alleged military security breach, army officials told NRM in late September.

But a second investigation by the DND's Health Services branch is still ongoing to determine if Dr Patterson violated medical ethics. Both cases stem from a magazine article he wrote in which he named and disclosed the details of his attempt to save Cpl Kevin Megeney. His death by shooting in March inside a coalition base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is still the subject of a DND inquiry. Former soldier Dr Patterson volunteered as a civilian doctor in Kandahar ealier this year.

"The Canadian Forces National Investigation Services investigation found no evidence to suggest that the submission of the article for publication by Dr Patterson constituted an offence under the National Defence Act," says DND spokesperson Capt Cindy Tessier.

Both investigations started in early August, after Dr Patterson's essay "Talk to me like my father" appeared in the US magazine Mother Jones.

The criminal investigation could potentially have led to criminal charges or a court martial.

The Health Services investigation, on the other hand, cannot result in charges being laid against Dr Patterson. "[The Health Services investigators] have a handful of different recommendations they can look into," says Capt Tessier, including whether Dr Patterson will be permitted to work for the Canadian Forces in the future or whether the DND should file a formal complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC over the alleged breach of doctor-patient confidentiality.

The investigations haven't distracted Dr Patterson from his writing. His debut novel, Consumption (excerpted in NRM in February), was released in the US in August to wide critical acclaim. He's also edited a book of essays called Outside the Wire by Canadian soldiers and physicians who have served in the Afghanistan war that will be published in late December or early January.

 

 

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