Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fainting may result in loss of drivers license

Bet you didn't know that... but apparently, there's a quiet little fiasco that's going on right here in Ontario.  It's true... if you have a medical condition such as diabeties, and have a non-diabetes related fainting spell because you simply stood up too fast, you very well could lose your drivers license.

It happened to a friend of mine, simply because someone wrote one INCORRECT fact down on a medical form.  And to get it corrected?  Turns out it's IMPOSSIBLE, you have to wait a MINIMUM of six months before you can get the situation corrected.

Give the story a read... it's time that this Catch-22 is corrected.
Must we choose between driving and seeing a doctor?
September 24, 2010

R. Douglas Coughey

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation acts as judge, jury and executioner in certain cases when it comes to deciding whether or not to revoke a driver’s license.

An editorial in this newspaper recently asserted that the opportunity to appeal rightly exists for those Ontario motorists who feel they were inappropriately pinched by a policy that sees many stripped of their driver’s licence on alleged medical grounds. If there was a working appeal mechanism, that might be all the relief that’s required for such citizens. But that’s not the case.

Ontario citizens should be aware that they are in danger of having their driver’s license suspended for six months or more over simply seeing a doctor.

Medical practitioners in Ontario are required by law to report to the ministry even single episodes of such incidents as fainting. They are not expected to determine if the incident is a one-time occurrence, a condition that can be cured or controlled with proper medical treatment, or a chronic condition that cannot be controlled or cured making it not safe for their patient to drive. They must just report the incident. That notification places such patients on the record with the ministry and often in deeper trouble than was caused by the original medical incident.

The ministry then decides a driver’s fate, and people are not invited to participate in that decision. People may not even be aware that the status of their licence is under review until after they have been found unsafe to drive – at least temporarily — and served with papers demanding they hand over their licence. Is this how we would expect to be treated?

The medical review board does not become involved until a licence suspension is completed, and people are eligible to re-apply for a new licence. It then decides whether the licence should be reinstated or the suspension extended.

The appeal tribunal process also takes months. The ministry provides no documentation to support its case against a driver. If someone can get those documents, it’s a good bet the ministry will stretch out the time it takes to release them. In addition, it can take months to make appointments with specialists, tests, and specialists again to explain the test results.

A tribunal official informed me the agency is so backlogged that it would take at least a month after it receives a request before it can will be reviewed. That’s no wonder, considering doctors must report every incident the ministry deems must be passed along.

I was informed by the ministry that there are thousands of citizens in a similar situation. I had my licence pulled after I saw a doctor following an isolated, non-driving, fainting spell this summer.

It’s all based on this clause in the Highway Traffic Act: “…every legally qualified medical practitioner shall report to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles the name, address and clinical condition of every person 16 years of age or over attending upon the medical practitioner for medical services, who, in the opinion of the medical practitioner, is suffering from a condition that may make it dangerous for the person to operate a motor vehicle."

I believe the intent is for medical practitioners to practise due diligence prior to reporting an incident to the ministry. If someone’s medical history and prescribed tests convince the doctor they are not safe to drive, then the doctor should provide a written report to the ministry, as well as a copy to the patient, stating the reason for the determination and the recommendation as to whether the condition can be successfully treated.

Doctors are in an extremely bad position being forced to take part in what is a great injustice for many patients. They know many of the people they report are losing their licences when there is little or no medical evidence to believe they are unsafe to drive.

This insanity has to stop. Someone in authority must find the courage to make changes to a ministry that is destroying, with impunity, the lives of so many citizens. Many to the people I speak with suggest that only the government can make the necessary changes and that I should speak to my MPP. I did. But Guelph MPP Liz Sandals said that, although there are problems, the system is best left alone. In fact, she claims the rules are going to be made stricter.

If the ministry is accurate in its interpretation of the Highway Traffic Act, the citizens of Ontario need to consider the consequences before they seek medical attention. The original medical problem could be much less painful than what the ministry is going to do to them.


  • At Sat Sep 25, 12:42:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Grumpy Old Man said…

    And if you are a licensed firearms owner, DO NOT go to a doctor if you are feeling a wee bit depressed. If you get a prescription for an anti-depressant you may lose your firearms...

  • At Sat Sep 25, 03:42:00 AM EDT, Blogger Pissedoff said…

    In good old Mcslipperys overtaxed dictatership

  • At Sat Sep 25, 09:03:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Once they yank your license you will not get it back till the six months are up. All the specialist reports in the world mean nothing to these people. I've seen it happen to half a dozen people now. Bottom line, unless you have a real concern do not go to the doctor (or even call an ambulance because anything the paramedics write down will be used as well).

  • At Sat Sep 25, 10:09:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wait a minute . . . the information quoted from the act does not say that a doctor must report everything, only things that they deem will make it unsafe for the patient to drive.

    If doctors are reporting a brief fainting spell that has nothing to do with driving or is unlikely to be repeated, it is the doctors who are at fault. This is not what is asked of them by the act.


  • At Fri Oct 01, 10:54:00 PM EDT, Anonymous jgriffin316 said…

    Hi CC,

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  • At Sat Oct 02, 09:49:00 AM EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Weird that I don't... thanks for the heads up, I'll look into it.

  • At Fri Oct 08, 09:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger Doug Coughey said…

    The MOT is the one that makes the final decision and you do are not even invited to your own trial.

    The MOT claims that the CMA regulations are clear in that single episodes of certain conditions call for an immediate six month license suspension no matter what the circumstances or whether or not you have been medically found safe to drive by medical specialists.

  • At Tue Oct 11, 12:58:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I lost my license last November due to mental illness. Now I have to go through all the testing of a driving evaluation which is going to cost me mega bucks and if I fail, I will have to take driving lessons (another expense I cannot afford being on a fixed income). This is a real cash grab!

  • At Sat Dec 15, 05:59:00 PM EST, Blogger confused13 said…

    I saw my specialist last May, I new he was reporting me. I waited and waited to see if MTO was sending my a letter. Nothing happened, then in Nov I got a letter saying I was suspended. They sent a waiver pkag. I had it filled out, the specialist I saw in may notified me when I sent him the part for him to fill out, that this is the wrong waiver. MTO suspended me for field vision, the specialist cannot fill it out as he didnt report me for field vision but for double vision. All the running around I did to have dr. fill out this pkag. and it is wrong. Not to mention I have had to find other living arrangements closer to work and still pay a cab to get there and back. There is NO bus route. this is costing a heak of a lot of money. I have NO idea when I will get the correct pkag or what is going to happen. This is such a mess. And as we all know the Government wont be rushing to get any of us re instated. Its not them doing with out,I am so pissed off and angry right now. If this is going to take months I am going to be forced to quit my job. Cause I just cannot afford this.

  • At Wed Apr 03, 10:38:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So if I faint because I have the flu and I am kinda weak right now.....can my doctor take away my licence??

  • At Tue Apr 29, 05:36:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So you faint, drive over a group of school kids and kill them. Just because you think you have a right to a license.

    Yes mine was suspended too, and I am waiting for the ban to be lifted. I hope you can see the logic.

  • At Tue Sep 23, 08:54:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is legal, and in fact required, that a lawyer defend a child rapist / murderer like Clifford Olson with the goal of having him released back into society to rape and murder more young boys but it is encouraged in Ontario that a doctor report one's private medical information if there is a chance that a future event could cause an automobile accident. We all know someone who refuses to tell the whole story to their physicians for fear that their private health records be shared with other government agencies and their licenses be revoked. This jeopardizes not only their own health but possibly others as, if they were to disclose the true nature of their ailments, perhaps something could be done for them to minimize risk.

  • At Tue Sep 23, 08:56:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is legal, and in fact required, that a lawyer defend a child rapist / murderer like Clifford Olson with the goal of having him released back into society to rape and murder more young boys but it is encouraged in Ontario that a doctor report one's private medical information if there is a chance that a future event could cause an automobile accident. We all know someone who refuses to tell the whole story to their physicians for fear that their private health records be shared with other government agencies and their licenses be revoked. This jeopardizes not only their own health but possibly others as, if they were to disclose the true nature of their ailments, perhaps something could be done for them to minimize risk.

  • At Thu Mar 05, 01:55:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I confronted my Dr and he admitted he errs on the side of reporting patients for their own as well as community safety. Understood. The expense and headaches I am experiencing mirror those above.

    Increasingly our society is being dictated to by lawyers and people in positions of power erring on the side of avoiding liability. If the rules are going to become more strict then the review board has to expand in proportion. I imagine it is saving lives but is ruining many in the process.

    You can appeal to an independent body ( can't remember exactly what it is called ) who has to respond within 30 business days but basically my Dr. said it is 9 months to a year. I will lose my job, my car but hopefully not my wife. All for something the Dr whimsically decided to report to the MTO.

  • At Tue Apr 11, 11:08:00 AM EDT, Blogger lowderbecky Wilkins said…

    DEC 31, 2016:
    My daughter, Felicia, is a Durham College student, trying to finish her first year in Digital Video Production, supporting herself in her own apartment with her own car and working at Mr Sub in an Esso Station that is 8.5 Km from her home. During my daughter’s Dec 31st shift, she had a little incident at work where she cut her finger on a slicer. She immediately didn’t feel well, and started to feel light headed and lose her peripheral vision. She called me but I was in Bracebridge at the time. She told me her symptoms. I knew that the staff there wasn’t trained with first aid, so I suggested that she call 911 and have the paramedics look at it. She went to the hospital and they diagnosed her with having a vasovagal syncope episode.
    In my daughter’s case, she didn’t actually faint. She did not lose consciousness. I know this because she was on the phone with me during the whole episode. She stayed stuck in the aura that you feel before fainting, but because I had told her to sit down on the floor, she didn’t progress any further than that.
    JAN 5, 2017:
    She was told by the hospital to have a follow-up appointment with her family doctor. When she did this, the family doctor reported to the MTO that she had a possible seizure disorder and loss of consciousness. The doctor also proceeded to refer her to a neurologist in Ajax and also set her up with a 48 hour holter monitor test and ECG.
    JAN 12, 2017:
    Felicia had her driver’s licence suspended on medical grounds.
    FEB 11, 2017:
    Felicia had her first appointment with the neurologist. The neurologist stated that Felicia did not have a seizure, but that she couldn’t fill in the medical forms just yet, because she really didn’t “know” Felicia that well. We were told that we were to return for another appointment. That appointment was going to take a few months to book. The neurologist booked her for an MRI as well.
    APR 14, 2017:
    Felicia had her second appointment with the neurologist. The neurologist stated that Felicia’s holter monitor results and MRI results were not on file and she couldn’t fill in Felicia’s MTO forms until she could see those results. This was regardless of the fact that these tests had been completed over a month prior to the appointment. We were told to rebook again. I objected. The receptionists were then tasked with getting the MRI results, while I pursued getting the holter monitor results faxed from the family doctor to the neurologist. We waited, and saw the neurologist again in about an hour, when the results had been gathered. She proceeded to fill in the forms for Felicia, with the exception of one form that had to be filled in by the family doctor. Price tag on the neurologist filling in the forms was $75.
    APR 16, 2017:
    Felicia saw the family doctor, who had some standard tests performed and proceeded to fill in the final page for the MTO. Price tag on the family doctor filling in the final form was $135. We went straight to the MTO with minutes to spare before they closed for the day. They were not impressed by us showing up just a few minutes before their official close time and where pretty rude in their mannerism as thy turned her away, stating that she had to go to the Drive Test Centre.
    APR 17, 2017:
    Felicia walked to the DTC first thing in the morning, only to be told that they don’t deal with medical reinstatements and that she had to fax the forms to the MTO at a 416 number in Toronto.
    I had her meet me at lunch time to review the forms and fax them from my office.
    Now she waits… it can take up to 30 business days from the point in time that the fax is “received” by the MTO.
    She has been instructed to phone in one week to ensure that the FAX has been received. If this happens in a timely manner (by their definition), Felicia should have her licence back by May 31, 2017 – 5 months, $210, and multiple tests and appointments after she cut her finger and ALMOST fainted.


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