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In the Matter of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia and Dr. Derek Duvall

A Panel of the Discipline Committee conducted a hearing under section 38 of the Health Professions Act (HPA) concerning respondent Derek Duvall. The purpose of the hearing was to inquire into the respondent’s conduct and competence as a dentist.

A further amended citation was issued at the direction of the Discipline Committee Panel. The citation has third-party names redacted to protect privacy.

The Discipline Committee Panel has issued a decision (below).

Decision Summary

(Redacted to protect 3rd party confidentiality and Dr. Duvall’s personal medical information)

  • Discipline Panel Members: Dr. A. Steinbart (Chair), Ms. L. Ashcroft, Dr. J. Gercsak
  • Counsel for the CDSBC: Ms. Jean Whittow, Q.C.
  • Counsel for the Discipline Panel: Ms. Catharine Herb-Kelly, Q.C.

A Panel of the Discipline Committee of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia (CDSBC) was appointed pursuant to Section 38 of the HPA to hear and determine allegations contained in an Amended Citation (Citation) issued pursuant to Section 37 of the HPA against Dr. Derek Duvall.

The hearing took place in Fort St. John, B.C. from 16-18 April 2012 and in Vancouver from 7-10 May 2012. Dr. Duvall did not attend the hearing.

The purpose of the hearing was to inquire into Dr. Duvall’s conduct and competence as a dentist. The Panel heard sworn oral testimony from Dr. Alex Penner, an investigator at CDSBC, who was qualified to provide expert evidence regarding the standards expected of a registrant practising general dentistry. The Panel also considered all of the evidence including affidavits from patients, reports and records from subsequent treating dentists and certified dental assistants, X-rays and models. They also considered written responses provided by Dr. Duvall to the complaints.

The citation contained 27 paragraphs, some of which included more than one allegation. The events described in the allegations took place in 2006, 2007 and 2009 in several communities in B.C.

In all cases, the onus of proof is on CDSBC and the evidence must be clear and convincing to support the allegation.

On 21 August 2012, a panel of the Discipline Committee issued its findings. A summary of the Panel’s findings is set out below.

Chart summarizing the College’s Allegations and the Discipline Panel’s Findings in the Hearing re: Derek Duvall

Incompetent practice

  • In most paragraphs of the citation, the College alleged incompetent practice, including provision of sub-standard dental services, or failure to obtain informed consent.
  • The Panel concluded that in 29 instances, Dr. Duvall’s practice was incompetent within the meaning of Section 39(1)(d) of the Health Professions Act.
  • The Panel dismissed two allegations of incompetent practice against Dr. Duvall.

Professional misconduct

  • The citation included several allegations of professional misconduct.
  • In four instances, the Panel found professional misconduct in: refusing to treat a patient for a dental emergency; hugging a patient; asking a child patient, her mother and/or grandmother to sit on his lap; and failing to comply with the terms of an agreement with the College.
  • In two instances, the Panel dismissed the allegation of professional misconduct.

Agreement between Dr. Duvall and CDSBC

Two of the allegations related to a 2003 agreement between Dr. Duvall and CDSBC called an Acknowledgement and Undertaking with Supporting Physicians Agreement (“AUSPA”). The Agreement was put in place in part to deal with Dr. Duvall’s medical condition. The AUSPA contained several conditions to ensure that Dr. Duvall would practise safely including:

  • That he provide a copy of the AUSPA to any dentist he works for
  • That employing dentists agree to report any breach of the AUSPA and “any significant quality of care, judgment or interpersonal issues…”
  • That he submit to a chart review once per year for five years
  • His agreement that his personal physician provide reports to CDSBC


The Panel noted that only one chart review was conducted and that the College fell short of its obligation to pursue Dr. Duvall to conduct subsequent reviews.

The Panel did note that the College had attempted to strike a balance that would protect the public while taking into account Dr. Duvall’s condition and providing him with an opportunity to earn a livelihood. Dr. Duvall violated the trust placed in him and placed his own interest before that of his patients.

Penalty

The Penalty Hearing took place on 15 October 2012. The Discipline Panel issued its Penalty Decision on 26 October 2012. In summary, the Panel orders the following:

(a) Dr. Duvall's registration in the CDSBC is cancelled, effective immediately; 

(b) Dr. Duvall must pay costs to the CDSBC in the amount of $95,000.00 no later than 31 December 2013; 

(c) Dr. Duvall must

(i) successfully complete all years of a general dentistry program listed in Schedule "A" of the bylaws or equivalent general dentistry program, and

(ii) successfully complete the National Dental Examining Board examinations (s. 39(8)(a) and (b) of the Health Professions Act.

(d) Dr. Duvall must comply with the requirements in (b) and (c) before he may apply for reinstatement of his registration in the CDSBC.

Derek Duvall’s registration with CDSBC has lapsed and his current status is inactive. He is no longer able to practise dentistry and may not use the title of “doctor.”

The full Discipline Panel Decision (redacted) and the Penalty Decision can be downloaded below:

Duvall Discipline Panel Decision (redacted) 

Duvall Penalty Decision