Edmonton-area doctor admits he had sex with vulnerable, opioid-addicted patient

A Stony Plain family physician has admitted to having sex with four of his patients and prescribing high levels of opioids to one, even though that patient showed clear signs of addiction.

Alberta’s medical regulator, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, found Dr. Sanjeev Bhardwaj guilty of unprofessional conduct in March, according a news release Monday.

A separate hearing on sanctions against Bhardwaj was scheduled for May 1, but the results are not yet finalized, the release said.
Bhardwaj admitted to four counts of sexual involvement with patients, failing to report the relationships and failing to meet the minimum standard of care in prescribing opioids.

Bhardwaj prescribed high levels of opioids to a patient between 2005 and 2015, “despite being aware of signs of aberrant behaviour and addiction,” and became sexually involved with the patient from 2010 until 2014, according to the decision.

“Bhardwaj admits that he gave Patient A repeat prescriptions in part because he was sexually attracted to her,” the decision reads. “He hoped that she would reciprocate his feelings if he pleased her by giving her the medication she was requesting.”

He also failed to refer the patient to a chronic pain and addiction specialist.

Between 2006 and 2014 Bhardwaj had sexual relationships with three other vulnerable patients.

He also lied to the college, denying he was having inappropriate relationships with patients, the decision said.

Stony Plain is 40 kilometres west of downtown Edmonton.

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