TORONTO - Prominent Toronto plastic surgeon Sammy Jo Sliwin warned his lover that if he performed a breast augmentation surgery on her, they could no longer have sex.
The 54-year-old woman — who cannot be legally identified due to a publication ban — testified at a discipline committee hearing of the College of Physicians and Surgeons that she and Sliwin had sex for the first time on March 8, 2001.
Sliwin, 56, is facing the revocation of his medical licence by the college for having sexual relations with a patient. The panel hasn’t released its decision on the hearing, which concluded last month.
The office romance fostered after months of flirting between long-time friends and they had sex in the office, she testified.
Within days of their first sexual encounter, the woman, who was his office manager at the time, asked Sliwin to perform the surgery.
In testimony obtained by QMI Agency, she recalled Sliwin announcing they could be either doctor-patient or lovers — but not both.
“If you do this, then I can’t be your lover any more,” the divorced mom of two adults quoted as Sliwin as saying.
Sliwin, who had previously done surgery on a long-time friend and then an employee in the 1990s, sought advice from the college by checking issues of its official publications and policies on its website.
A precedent setting case two years ago determined that consensual, pre-existing relationships could be considered “sexual abuse.”
In September 2002, she separated from her husband of 18 years because she “couldn’t keep on deceiving him and living with him in a home. I couldn’t go on living a double life,” she told the committee.
“But, under no circumstances did I think that Dr. Sliwin was in the position or going to do the same thing.”
The secretive affair lasted six years and four surgeries that she requested and that he performed free of charge. In the end, she decided to launch a $2.5 million lawsuit in 2009, citing sexual abuse and exploitation. She also reported Sliwin to the college.
The civil case was dismissed on consent, meaning neither side won.