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Alberta surgeon who hung a noose in a hospital found guilty of unprofessional conduct

Last Updated Jan 13, 2021 at 3:56 pm EST

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A surgeon in northwestern Alberta has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct for hanging a rope in the shape of a noose on an operating room door. 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta says that Dr. Wynand Wessels acted with the intention of sending a message that could be interpreted as “intimidating or threatening.”

But the decision by a college hearing tribunal says there was not enough evidence to show that Wessels was motivated by racism. 

The rope was put up on a door leading to an operating room at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie, Alta., on June 24, 2016. 

A hearing into the incident was told Dr. Wessels grew up in South Africa during Apartheid and liked making knots.

Wessels suggested the gesture was about team-building and was not directed at any person but the decision says it was seen as violent and racist by many colleagues.

The college says sanctions will be determined at a later hearing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021. 

The Canadian Press