07/23/2012 08:52 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Bathurst eye specialist accused of unnecessary surgeries

The New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons is using two complaints against a Bathurst eye specialist to help justify its decision to suspend him from practising in the province.

Dr. Tarek Youssef, an ophthalmologist, has been prohibited from practising in the province since June 5, pending the outcome of an investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Youssef, who is still practising in Cornwall, Ont., has requested a court order to have his New Brunswick suspension lifted or stayed until the college's investigation is complete.

Youssef’s request will be heard by the Court of Queen's Bench on July 27.

Dr. Ed Schollenberg, the college’s registrar, filed an affidavit in court that outlines the oversight body's rationale for the suspension. Schollenberg's affidavit includes letters of complaint against Youssef.

One letter is from a 57-year-old Tracadie-Sheila resident who alleges to have "suffered severe and permanent damage" to both eyes "as a result of unnecessary" surgery performed by Youssef.

Another complaint is from a 51-year-old person living in Montreal with a family history of reduced vision.

Although the patient required eyeglasses before the surgery, the letter says the person was accustomed to their vision and functioning normally.

But after surgery, which the complainant claims was “unnecessary," the individual's eyesight allegedly got worse.

Both patients say they are now unable to work.

They also allege Youssef dismissed their concerns after their surgeries and told them, "it takes time."

Schollenberg’s affidavit also includes a letter from a woman who claims she decided against cataract surgery with Youssef after getting a second opinion.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Youssef filed his own affidavit earlier this month, saying he wanted the suspension lifted. And there was “no evidence of impending risk” if he was allowed to resume his work.

Youssef, who has been practising in Bathurst part-time since 2003, lives in the northern New Brunswick city about 15 days per month, according to his affidavit.

He spends the balance of the month living in Cornwall, where his wife and children live, he says.