Doctors keep licenses despite sex abuse
Washington, D.C.
   
 
More Today's News:
ߦ   Coast Guard medevacs mariner 35 miles offshore Galveston
ߦ   Joint Sting By Constables, TABC
ߦ   Man gets 15 years for fatal drunk-driving crash
ߦ   Man Jailed For Assaulting 13-Year Old Child
ߦ   Sheriff Deputies Catch Felony Theft Suspects
ߦ   Sheriff Searching for Robbery Suspects
ߦ   Woman Arrested For Assaulting Deputy
ߦ   30 Year Sentence For Intoxicated Manslaughter
ߦ   Burnet County Sheriff's Office - Inmate/Arrests Summary
ߦ   Coast Guard medevacs cruise ship passenger 58 miles offshore Galveston
ߦ   Constables Arrests Fleeing Felon
ߦ   DPS Welcomes 92 New Highway Patrol Troopers
ߦ   Former Judge Sentenced to Prison for Federal Obstruction and Theft Charges
ߦ   Four Red River County Men Indicted for Conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine
ߦ   Operation Grinch Pinch
ߦ   Paris Police Dept - Daily Activity Summary
ߦ   Traffic Fatality on Brushy Creek Road
ߦ   Constables Arrests Man For Evading Arrest In Vehicle
ߦ   Galveston College Community Chorale sets holiday concert
ߦ   ViCAP Links Murders to Prolific Serial Killer
ߦ   K9 Teams - Beyond the Basics of Search and Rescue and Recovery
ߦ   HIRING POLICE OFFICER - La Marque Police Dept.
ߦ   As Crowd Of By-Standers Shoot Video Of Officer Being Attacked; Good Samaritan Stops To Help
ߦ   Ballistic vests, constable cameras part of county law enforcement upgrades
ߦ   Injured Fayette Co. deputy strong, defiant as he recalls being shot on duty
ߦ   MOST WANTED - Galveston County Sheriff
ߦ   Plano police use donated helicopter for sky-high training
ߦ   Animal Cruelty Arrest
ߦ   Fire Captain Rescues 5 Year Old Child
ߦ   Reminder - Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
ߦ   Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Strangling and Leaving Victim Unconscious on Roadside
ߦ   Houston Police Dept. Incident Reports
ߦ   Galveston County District Attorney Announces 'Tree of Angels' Celebration
ߦ   Attention All Galveston Bay Area Racers And Fans!!!
ߦ   Motorsports Expo to Benefit Galveston County Children's Advocacy Center

   Next >>
 
Search Archives:



AP investigation: Doctors keep licenses despite sex abuse
In this image provided by the Conway (Ark.) Police Department, Robert Rook is seen in this June 3, 2016, photo. An Associated Press investigation finds that even as Hollywood moguls, elite journalists and politicians have been pushed out of their jobs or resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the world of medicine is more forgiving. Rook was allowed to keep his family practice open, so long as he’s chaperoned, despite facing multiple criminal charges for rape. Prosecutors subsequently downgraded the charges to more than 20 counts of sexual assault in the second- and third-degree, charges for which Rook says he is innocent. (Conway Police Department via AP)


WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as Hollywood moguls, elite journalists and top politicians have been pushed out of their jobs or resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the world of medicine is more forgiving, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Even when doctors are disciplined, their punishment often consists of a short suspension paired with therapy that treats sexually abusive behavior as a symptom of an illness or addiction.

The first time that Dr. Anthony Bianchi came onto a patient, California's medical board alleged, the gynecologist placed a chair against the exam room door, put his fingers into the woman's vagina and exposed his erect penis.

The second time, the board claimed, he told a patient that he couldn't stop staring at her breasts and recounted a dream in which he performed oral sex on her in the office.

The third time, the board charged, he told a pregnant patient suffering from vaginal bleeding that she shouldn't shave her pubic hair before her next visit, as he was getting too excited.

These episodes led to disciplinary actions by the state's medical board in 2012 and in 2016. Bianchi agreed not contest the charges, and held onto his medical license. Under a settlement with California's medical board, he agreed to seek therapy and refrain from treating women during five years of probation.

Bianchi did not respond to telephone messages from The Associated Press left for him at the workers' compensation clinic in Fresno, California, where he now evaluates occupational health claims.

Decades of complaints that the physician disciplinary system is too lenient on sex-abusing doctors have produced little change in the practices of state medical boards. And the #MeToo campaign and the rapid push in recent months to increase accountability for sexual misconduct in American workplaces do not appear to have sparked a movement toward changing how medical boards deal with physicians who act out sexually against patients or staffers.

"There's been a failure of the medical community to take a stand against the issue," said Azza Abbudagga, a health services researcher with nonprofit advocacy organization Public Citizen.

She published a report recently detailing sexual misconduct among physicians. Its findings showed of the 253 doctors reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank for having been sanctioned by their respective hospitals or health care organizations for sexual misconduct, or paid a settlement that stemmed from such an allegation, 170 of them were not disciplined by state medical boards, even though all boards have access to the reports filed with the data bank.

Current guidelines from the Federation of State Physician Health Programs, which represents doctor rehab programs in 47 states, are largely silent on handling sexual misconduct treatment and describe sexual harassment as a "cause of impairment" in a doctor. Programs to treat doctor impairment are inherently supposed to be "non-disciplinary," per the federation's guidelines.

State-authorized programs that attempt to oversee the rehabilitation of doctors who have committed sexual misconduct aren't always forthcoming about their methods. In Florida, the Professional's Resource Network asked the AP to provide detailed questions and a list of sources before it would answer questions.

After the AP provided the head of the program, Alexis Polles, with basic questions about the program's approach to clearing doctors for return to work after instances of sexual abuse, she declined to answer any of them.

The lenience of penalties for sexually abusive doctors sometimes a source of frustration even for members of the medical board who administer the discipline, according to Jason Rosenberg, a former chairman of the Florida medical board.

"This is incredibly inappropriate," Rosenberg said during one 2013 meeting when Florida's medical board allowed James Yelton-Rossello, a psychiatrist alleged to have molested jailed psychiatric patients, to keep his license. The settlement with the Florida board of medicine did not require Yelton-Rossello to admit guilt.

"You can't do this and serve french fries," Rosenberg said at that meeting, citing some fast food restaurants' policies against hiring sex offenders. "I'm ashamed of what's going on here."

Yelton-Rossello's lawyer did not respond to telephone messages or an email request for comment.

In practice, even some lawyers who represent doctors find the physician health programs to be problematic. David Spicer, who has represented doctors facing medical board discipline in Florida, says the state's doctor rehabilitation program isn't well designed to evaluate or treat sexual misbehavior. The program's key component, he said, is a "one-size-fits-all" requirement that doctors engage in therapy sessions and not get into trouble for a specified period, generally five years.

Experts in the treatment of sexual misbehavior question whether the treatments mandated for doctors who molest patients are even appropriate for such misconduct.

"It's insufficient," said Rory Reid, a UCLA psychology professor who studies addiction and hypersexual behavior. "We have clinical trials for everything underneath the sun," Reid said. "But there's not one clinical trial that I'm aware of on the efficacy of treatment for doctors who have engaged in sexual misconduct."

Post a comment
Name/Nickname:
(required)
Email Address: (must be a valid address)
(will not be published or shared)
Comments: (plain text only)
Printer Friendly Format  Printer Friendly Format    Send to a Friend  Send to a Friend    RSS Feed  RSS Feed
  Facebook   Share link on Twitter Tweet  
© 1999-2018 The Police News. All rights reserved.