What Is the Solution?
History tells us that physician sexual misconduct is nothing new. It is a problem that at a minimum is nearly as old as the history of medicine, and that probably is as old as medicine itself. There are few historical references to misconduct itself, but many to society's attempts to solve it--generally, by self-regulation of the health-care professions, with ethical codes and credos indistinguishable from those in use today.
[E]thics codes, discussion, and research alone have failed to significantly change the situation. We have tried "Plan A"--self-regulation in concert with codes of ethics--and it has not solved the problem. Twenty-four centuries is probably long enough to try any one solution. Now it is time for new initiatives. 1
People and governments around the world are beginning to take steps toward developing new solutions to the problem of sexual misconduct. Canada has taken many.
In Canada, the province of Ontario took a major step toward new initiatives with a massive study in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The purpose of the study was to determine just what the extent of the problem of sexual misconduct is in Ontario, as well as to better define the problem itself. A task force was appointed, and its findings were published. As a result of this study, some major steps were taken by the Ministry of Health in Ontario. This project is