Doctor cleared of false claims - Metro US

Doctor cleared of false claims

A Toronto doctor accused of defrauding OHIP out of $65,000 for non-existent treatments for family members has been found “not criminally respon­sible” by reason of her mental disorder.

Dr. Susan Burlacoff “had a fixed false belief” that she was providing medical services for members of her family and another woman, Ontario Superior Court Justice Carolyn Horkins said yesterday. As a result, Burlacoff did not know the billings were wrong, Horkins said.

The judge expressed concern that Burlacoff, 53, is continuing to practise med­icine at walk-in clinics despite her mental illness.

The next step is a hearing to determine whether Burlacoff is at risk of committing a serious crime in future. It begins Nov. 26.

Medical experts called by the defence, including psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Gut­heil, said a psychotic disorder had caused Burlacoff to submit some 2,700 billings for non-existent treatments between 1996 and 2001. She medicalized “kit­chen table” conversations with family members, the defence experts said.

Gutheil said Burlacoff has traits of paranoia, narcissism and borderline personality disorder.

But her intelligence and organizational skills have helped disguise her problems, he testified.

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