Mississauga Doctor and Former Dragon's Den Contestant Suspended for Being "Disgraceful"

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Mississauga doctor Marc Podell, a man who once appeared on Dragon's Den in a cowboy outfit, was recently suspended from practicing following a series of bizarre and aggressive actions in the workplace.

Podell was a surgical assistant at Trillium Health Partners between 2009 and 2014. Last month, he was suspended from being allowed to practice, according to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).

This information is available for public record. You can actually find Podell's case here. As of December 21, 2016, Podell was suspended as a licensed medical professional. Podell's notice of his hearing before the College is also available for public consumption. The list of accusations levelled at Podell described him being 'disgraceful, dishonourable, and unprofessional.'

What Podell is accused of doing, or not doing, were as follows:

  • Failing to respond to pages and requests to attend on numerous occasions while working as a surgical assistant.
  • Specifically, Podell was accused of not taking 'significant steps' to address issues with his cellphone and pager. He was not responding to summons requesting his assistance with, for example, emergency surgery. When your job is dealing with people's lives, it's sort of important to be available at all times.
  • Engaging in inappropriate, demeaning and unprofessional conduct, including pushing or shoving staff.
  • The nurse he allegedly bumped into said he was doing it intentionally, while Podell claims he wasn't, and he tried contacting the nurse several times to explain. That action from Podell was also perceived by the nurse to be intimidating.
  • Making inappropriate, demeaning and unprofessional comments.
  • There were a few incidents mentioned regarding this accusation, but the one that stood out was an accusation that he made lewd comments while scrolling through a website called "Asian Kisses." For those of you who didn't click the link and assumed the worst, it's actually just a dating website, not a pornographic one as Podell's lawyer clarified to the CPSO panel.

Other incidents included failing to comply with an undertaking entered into with Trillium Health Centre, inappropriately and aggressively requesting payment from a post-surgical 18 year old patient from Quebec, and apparently accessing the health records and personal health information of an individual who was not his patient and without their consent.

So..it sounds like Marc Podell shouldn't really be working in any field as medical personnel, and perhaps should try finding another line of work.

That's where the second half of this story gets interesting. Podell was actually a contestant on CBC's Dragon's Den, pitching an idea for an alternative to the gardening shovel he called Quickplant.

Podell actually had a good idea; a tool that bypasses all the other steps you would have to go through with a shovel when it comes to personal gardening. That would save a lot of time and increases efficiency for people who frequently garden. The problem with Podell was while he had a good product, from a business standpoint his proposal was absolutely ludicrous.

He wanted to invest $53,000, already had 17,000 Quickplants stored in a warehouse, was expecting to make up to a $1 million, but wasn't going to do any sales. In fact, Podell claimed he was not a salesperson it appeared he was expecting one of the Dragons to either help him make the sales or direct him to someone who could.

If you watched Dragon's Den long enough, you know that people like Dickinson and O'Leary are entrepreneurial investors; they're the people you approach for financial capital but you (the one with the business idea) should be the one doing the grunt work. Podell was expecting to reap 70 per cent of the profits for, well, just inventing the Quickplant. Podell came before them with pretty much zero plans on how he was going to sell his product. Even O'Leary, who said it was good product, said "I look for the path of least resistance, and you (Podell) are a huge path of resistance. And the crazy thing is, the product works!"

You would think after this fiasco Podell would just disappear off into the night. But a year after this episode aired, he wasn't doing too bad...

It seems he managed to capitalize on his 15 minutes of fame on Dragon's Den and went from selling nothing to making half a million dollars. If you're a frequent visitor of Canadian Tire, Home Hardware you might have seen Quickplant available in the gardening section. For a guy who said he was a doctor and not a salesman, Podell's plan at the time seems to have reaped him the rewards he was looking for.

Maybe if he stuck with his Quickplant idea, he could've left the doctor's gig and avoided all those other problems. Quite a curious person indeed.

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