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B.C. massage therapist fined for using phone during treatment

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
February 16, 2021 - 12:09 PM

A Prince George massage therapist has been ordered to pay $4,500 and suspended from practicing for 10 days for playing Sudoku and Mahjong on his cell phone while giving clients massages.

In his defence, massage therapist Trevor Scott told the College of Massage Therapist of B.C. he played puzzles and games on his phone to keep him "alert and awake" but the college didn't buy it.

In two recently published Jan. 21 College of Massage Therapists of B.C. consent resolutions, Scott admitted to professional misconduct and that he'd violated the College's code of ethics.

According to the consent resolution, in March 2019 the College received a complaint from a female patient who alleged that Scott had been touching himself with one hand while massaging the patient with his other hand while the patient was lying face down on the massage table.

In response to the allegation, the College assigned a male undercover investigator who posed as a patient.

The investigator found Scott "tapping and swiping" during a 45-minute massage.

"Mr. Scott had his cellular phone in his hand for a total of 15 minutes and 24 seconds of the treatment and was using it to play a game similar to Candy Crush, with a name similar to 'Empire,'" reads the decision.

The consent resolution says Scott admitted that on multiple occasions in late 2018 and early 2019 he'd used his cell phone while patients were lying face down on the massage table.

Scott said he'd originally used his phone to communicate with the front desk staff at the clinic and eventually started to play games and puzzles, including the "Empire" games, a drawing app, as well as Sudoku and Mahjong.

One month after the original complaint, another female patient said she saw Scott handling his cell phone with one hand while massaging her with the other hand. On several occasions during the treatment, the patient had felt the corner of his cell phone poke her.

"(The patient) also advised that in her most recent treatment with Mr. Scott, while lying face down, she looked up quickly and (Scott) immediately moved to hide his cellular phone," the decision says.

The consent resolution says Scott hadn't taken any photographs or video recordings of patients while using his cell phone during treatment, but that a patient that sees a massage therapist using a cell phone while they are unclothed during treatment is likely to become "distressed and upset."

Ultimately, the College suspended him for 10 days starting Feb. 19, fined him $1,500 and ordered him to pay a further $3,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.

Scott is also barred from having his cell phone in the treatment room while conducting a massage therapy treatment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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