Publication ban on slain Toronto doctor challenged on social media with #SayHerName

Dr. Elana Fric Shamji's body was found in Vaughan, Ont., on Dec. 1, 2016. Instagram

A publication ban on the identity of Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji, a Toronto doctor allegedly killed by her neurosurgeon husband, is being challenged on social media with the hashtag #SayHerName.

Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji, 40, was reported missing Wednesday night and her body was found by the side of a road in Vaughan, Ont., Thursday afternoon.

Her husband, Dr. Mohamed Shamji, a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital and a faculty member at the University of Toronto, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Friday night. He appeared in court Saturday morning and was remanded into custody until Dec. 20.

READ MORE: Toronto neurosurgeon charged with 1st-degree murder in doctor wife’s death

A publication ban was issued Saturday morning under section 486.5 of the Criminal Code, which prevented reporting on the identity of Elana Fric-Shamji and the nature of the relationship between her and the accused.

Story continues below advertisement

The hashtag #SayHerName has been used by Black Lives Matter activists in the United States, but took on a different meaning in the wake of Fric-Shamji’s death, as colleagues and friends used it as a way to remember and identify the beloved family doctor who worked at the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital in Toronto’s east end.

Dr. Tonja Stothart, an Ottawa-based physician and medical officer with Health Canada, tweeted that Fric-Shamji was a teacher, doctor and friend, adding “we will honour you” with the hashtag #SayHerName.

Dr. Lee Anderson, a Springwater, Ont.-based physician, tweeted Sunday Fric-Shamji would be remembered as a “wonderful, brilliant, caring physician and mother.”

“Dr. Elana Fric was a respected physician, leader, and mother of 3 children,” Andersen added. “She will be deeply missed.”

Dr. Laura Kistemaker tweeted Fric-Shamji was a “mother, daughter, physician and friend” who “will be missed.”

Dr. Nadia Alam also used the hashtag and tweeted Fric-Shamji was a “beautiful, brilliant mom, doc, woman – taken from us too soon. Rest well, my friend.”

Story continues below advertisement

Dr. Jessica Trier, a Kingston, Ont.-based physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and assistant professor at Queen’s University said she was saddened by the “tragic loss.”

Toronto-based family and palliative care physician Dr. Pamela Liao said she would honour Fric-Shamji’s memory and “keep fighting to protect those who cannot.”

Dr. Tom Chan, Interim Chief Medical Officer of Scarborough and Rouge Hospital said in a statement staff were “shocked and saddened by” Fric-Shamji’s “tragic death.”

“We send our condolences to her family and friends,” he said, adding that staff will be working with their team in the Department of Family and Community Medicine to have physicians ready to care for her patients.

Dr. Virginia Walley, chair of the OMA, said in a written statement Saturday the Ontario medical community was “stunned by the tragic news” of Fric-Shami’s “untimely death.”

READ MORE: Toronto neurosurgeon charged in murder of wife makes court appearance

“Elana was a talented family physician who was active in many efforts to improve the health-care system. I most recently spoke to her at our Fall Council, where she enthusiastically discussed her work to help advance the interests of physicians and their patients,” Walley said.

Story continues below advertisement

“Efforts are underway within the Ontario Medical Association to properly memorialize Dr. Fric-Shamji, and to allow the community of her colleagues to assist in supporting her children.”

On Sunday, Walley said an “urgent meeting” was called to discuss ways of commemorating Fric-Shamji from colleagues who “knew and admired” her.

READ MORE: Homicide unit investigating after body found in Vaughan

“The group is looking at everything from a trust fund for her children, to support for one of the many causes she was passionate about,” she said.

“The Ontario Medical Association is also actively working on a way to permanently honour Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji’s memory.”

WATCH: Friends and colleagues of a family doctor allegedly killed by her neurosurgeon husband are trying to create a legacy in her memory. Catherine McDonald has more on what’s being done to remember Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji (Dec. 5)
Click to play video: 'Friends, colleagues working to honour Toronto family doctor'
Friends, colleagues working to honour Toronto family doctor

Meanwhile, the OMA has setup a crowdfunding page to assist with caring for Fric-Shami’s children.

Story continues below advertisement

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins took to Twitter Sunday to express his condolences to the “highly-respected physician leader” with the use of a different hashtag — #StopDomesticViolence.

With files from The Canadian Press, Peter Kim and Nick Westoll

Sponsored content