What a delight to see Norm Barwin back in the news.
As reported in the gutter press this week, the longtime Frank subscriber and celebrated fertility doc has been sued by a woman who claims Dr. Norm impregnated her mother with his own sperm through artificial insemination when her mother and her husband sought Barwin’s help to conceive a child in the late eighties.
Rebecca Dixon and her parents are seeking punitive damages against Barwin, alleging that “the defendant’s reckless and wanton conduct, including the cavalier use of his own sperm in his insemination procedures, demonstrated a reprehensible disregard for the health, safety, and rights of the plaintiffs, the members of the plaintiff classes and of the general public.”
This isn’t the first time Barwin has been mentioned in dispatches.
In 2013, he gave up his Order of Canada after he was suspended for artificially inseminating three patients with the wrong sperm and fined $3,650. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons found him guilty of professional misconduct and he was publicly reprimanded.
Barwin also has a history of doctoring of another sort.
Barwin ran the Boston Marathon in 2000, completing the 26-mile event in 3:17, which was 14th-best in his age group of men 60-69 and a phenomenal performance for a novice marathoner. He’d qualified for the Boston event with a time of less than three hours at the earlier Royal Victoria Marathon in B.C., his first-ever full 42k race.
Enter Glen McGregor. In an investigation for the Ottawa Petfinder into Barwin’s performance, the former Trash Magazine hack discovered that Boston Marathon officials had advised Barwin in a missive sent three days after the event: “You failed to appear at multiple checkpoints along the marathon route. Please provide this office with any information that may be helpful to assist in authenticating that you did run the entire marathon course, including type of clothing worn, other visual identification, split times, companion runners, etc.”
Within a month, Barwin had been officially disqualified and barred from running the Boston Marathon again.
Barwin presented an assortment of alibis. “I’m not quite sure now what happened, whether I had a faulty chip or what.” Then he told McGargoyle he’d dropped out around the 10k point because of an inguinal hernia, rejoining the race at the end because he wanted to experience the exhilaration of crossing the finish line with a group of friends. “I thought I’d feel the high of coming in. I got a friend to give me a lift (to the finish),” Barwin said. “I have had a hard time with this. It wasn’t my intent to do this. It was a breaking point, you know.”
A year later, Barwin was again caught cheating at the National Capital Marathon. He finished first in his age group with a time of 3:04. Turns out he failed to complete the second lap of the two-circuit route. The hernia problem had laid him out once more, he later claimed, so he’d pulled out near the midway point of the second lap. “I limped straight off the race. I assumed I wasn’t going to be included in the results.”
He had, however, joined the race again one kilometre from the finish line, allegedly to run alongside a training partner. Barwin said he’d informed officials that he hadn’t completed the course and asked to be removed from the results, though that couldn’t be confirmed.
“It’s really very embarrassing for me,” said Barwin. “It was quite out of character, I promise you.”