Halifax chiropractor gives up licence, admits to professional incompetence

A Halifax-based chiropractor who attracted attention for her unfounded views on vaccines is no longer licensed to practise in Nova Scotia.

A notice on the Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors' website says Dena Churchill surrendered her licence in January and entered into a settlement agreement with the college in which she admits the charge of being "professionally incompetent as a result of incompetence arising out of mental incapacity."

A hearing on the charge scheduled for next week will no longer go ahead.

The settlement agreement says Churchill underwent a psychological assessment in the fall. She cannot reapply for a licence to practise in Nova Scotia unless she provides a qualified medical opinion to the college's satisfaction that she is competent and fit to practise.

Regulator filed complaint

She also agreed to pay the college costs of $ 6,000.

Churchill, who operated Oxford Chiropractic Inc. until she closed the practice last fall, posted extensively on various social media platforms about a variety of health-care subjects outside her scope of practice.

Most notably, she repeatedly made disproved and unfounded links between autism and vaccines. Chiropractors in Canada are told explicitly by their governing authorities not to comment on vaccines in any capacity.

The complaint about Churchill that led to the investigation was filed by the regulator last May.

Misconduct hearing in May

The college's executive director, John Sutherland, said he thinks the matter was handled expeditiously and within the appropriate legal process, given the gravity of the situation and potential implications for Churchill.

"I would think that for any regulator to essentially remove the ability for someone to work with a licence, it should be arduous for the regulator to be able to do that."

While the agreement resolves the matter of whether Churchill can practise in Nova Scotia, she still faces a professional misconduct hearing in May related to her online activity.

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