The Washington State Department of Health, Medical Quality Assurance Commission, announced on June 9, 2014 that the medical license of a Washington anesthesiologist was immediately suspended as a result of charges that the anesthesiologist had compromised patient safety, due to his “lack of focus on patient care while providing anesthesia services for hospital based surgical procedures” that “routinely fell below the standard of care and put patients at unreasonable risk of harm.”
The charges allege that the anesthesiologist frequently exchanged personal and often sexually explicit text messages while on duty when he was the responsible anesthesiologist (he allegedly exchanged 241 text messages on six days between April 18, 2013 and August 6, 2013, with 80 of the text messages on August 6th alone); he improperly accessed medical-record imaging for his sexual gratification; and, he had sexual encounters at the hospital while on duty (including an alleged sexual encounter with one of his patients on July 24, 2013, to whom he sent “selfies” that showed him in his surgical scrubs and hospital ID with his genitals exposed).
Additional charges against the anesthesiologist include allegations that he issued at least 29 unauthorized prescriptions for controlled substances and legend drugs without keeping medical records, and without charting patient history, assessment, diagnoses, treatment plans, informed consent, or anti-diversion precautions for the patients. The prescription medication charges include 14 prescriptions for one patient over the course of about one year, for 2,250 five-milligram oxycodone hydrochloride tablets. Other prescription medications were alprazolam, hydrocodone-acetaminophen, zolpidem tartrate, and antibiotics, some of which were prescribed for a patient with whom he was having sexual relations.
During the investigation, the anesthesiologist allegedly made disrespectful and racist remarks regarding a patient and misrepresented his surgical work schedule to an investigator that was pertinent to establishing whether the anesthesiologist was on duty when exchanging sexually explicit text messages and sending a “selfie” to a patient on April 18, 2013 (the anesthesiologist informed the investigator that he was off work on April 18, 2013 during the time that 28 sexually explicit texts were exchanged, including the selfie that was sent at 6:44 p.m. that day; however, the surgical records obtained by the investigator indicated that the anesthesiologist was on duty from 8:18 a.m. through 10:56 p.m. on April 18, 2013, during which time he was responsible for eight surgeries).
The anesthesiologist had been licensed to practice medicine in Washington State since November 14, 1995.
To read the June 3, 2014 Statement of Charges against the anesthesiologist, click here.
To read the Medical Quality Assurance Commission’s Ex Parte Order of Summary Suspension dated June 5, 2014, click here.
Would you be comfortable having your life or the life of a loved one in the hands of an anesthesiologist who was sexting during surgery or who failed to abide by legal requirements regarding prescribing powerful medications? How would you know?
If you or a loved one may have been injured by the medical negligence of an anesthesiologist or other medical provider who breached the standard of care under the circumstances, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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