B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

A registered massage therapist in Enderby is facing fines and consequences after undraping and exposing the breasts of two patients without written consent.

Dennis Desrochers had two complaints filed to the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia in 2006 and 2012 accusing him of uncovering the women without written permission.

Following investigations, Desrochers will be permanently banned from providing breast examination services to female patients and will be fined $1,000 and $500 to cover portions of the investigation costs. The RMT must also undergo further education and one-on-one training.

The first complainant said she was not advised by the RMT there were any alternative draping options after he uncovered her from the waist up while she was laying face-up on the massage table, her chest exposed.

Desrochers told the college he asked the young woman, who was being treated for significant injuries if she was OK with being undraped and “recalls her seeming ambivalent and saying, ‘Yeah, OK, let’s try it,’” the report reads.

The second complaint came in 2012, but Desrochers told the college he could “no longer specifically recollect the complainant or the massage therapy session in question.”

Both complainants said they did not provide consent in writing before the massage and the RMT did not provide them with alternative draping options.

In Desrochers’ contractual deal with the college, made on Sept. 19, 2019, he acknowledged he committed professional misconduct according to the college’s bylaws that state, “during treatment, a Registrant shall arrange the draping so that only the part of a patient’s body that is being treated is exposed and all other parts are appropriately draped.”

In a letter to the editor submitted on Oct. 4, an Enderby RMT said, “uncovering breasts is not necessary.”

“A good RMT can work through sheets to address soft tissues in the area,” North Okanagan Therapeutics’ Gayle Heinrich said.

READ MORE: RMT says consent a must in massage therapy

READ MORE: Grow-op has water cut by Vernon bylaw


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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