Dr. Jeff Serfas of the Forestburg Veterinary Clinic has officially had his registration with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) cancelled by ABVMA’s Hearing Tribunal as of Wed. Oct. 28.
The decision was based on facts showing Dr. Serfas practicing veterinary medicine during the time when his registration was suspended and his failure to abide by prior tribunal orders.
Dr. Serfas registration has been cancelled for five years and handed $20,000 in fines as well as up to $80,000 for costs associated with the investigation and hearing itself.
The Forestburg Vet Clinic closed on June 2.
The main question the tribunal was tasked with, based on facts they acquired through investigation, was determining whether he is an “ungovernable professional” or not.
Cancelling one’s registration is considered ‘the most serious sanction’ that can be issued within the veterinary practice.
“Dr. Serfas has repeatedly refused to be governed by the regulatory body for the veterinary profession in Alberta, cancelling his registration with the ABVMA is the appropriate course of action to protect the public and maintain the integrity of the veterinary profession and the disciplinary process,” stated the ABVMA ruling issued after the hearing held virtually on Oct. 28, 2020.
Richard Rand, legal counsel for Dr. Serfas, acknowledged that the maximum fines and most severe penalty were being jointly proposed and that cancellation was the appropriate penalty in light of all of the facts supporting the admissions of unprofessional conduct.
He advised the tribunal that Dr. Serfas “has a loyal following of clients who may in fact have been lying to protect him and that Dr. Serfas does not agree with everything in the Disclosure of Documents binder. And that the loss of his professional registration has been very hard for Dr. Serfas but that, having regard to the circumstances of this matter, the Hearing Tribunal cannot consider something less than ‘professional death’ that is caused by cancellation of registration.”
Actions during suspension
Some of the actions Dr. Serfas took into his own hands once the suspension was initially issued include cattle pregnancy checks, ordered pharmaceuticals and hospital supplies, prescribed and dispensed large animal pharmaceuticals, administered vaccines, conducted bull semen testing, received payments for duties performed, performed quill removal, equine dental procedures, post mortem examinations and steer and colt castrations and euthanized animals.
It was also determined Dr. Serfas attempted to ‘deceive’ the ABVMA with respect to conduct in the practice of veterinary medicine between June 15, 2019 and June 15, 2020.
Overwhelming evidence establishing that Dr. Serfas was breaching the Hearing Tribunal order, including bank records, invoices, daytimer documents and text messages.
The Hearing Tribunal also noted that Dr. Serfas had involvement in distracting the efforts of the responsible veterinarian and that the breadth and extent of prohibited practice was overwhelmingly significant.
“Based on the totality of the evidence, there is no doubt that Dr. Serfas practiced veterinary medicine during the prohibited time period and it encompassed many veterinary activities on a frequent and repeated basis,” stated the tribunal decision.
The clinic also failed to satisfy the Practice Inspection Practice Standards (PIPS) inspection on May 20, 2020.