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CA: Dr. of sexual harassment's privileges revoked: court upholds revocation of staff privileges.

CASE FACTS: A physician who was identified only as John Doe, M.D., obtained staff privileges at Enloe Medical Center. The hospital's bylaws prohibited the harassment (of any individual, including hospital employees and patients) by a medical staff member. The hospital's bylaws provided that the hospital could take corrective action against any of its staff members whenever reliable information indicated the conduct of a member was not consistent with quality patient care, or in violation of the hospital's bylaws. Corrective action for sexual harassment included termination of medical staff membership as well as medical staff privileges. Pursuant to this authority, and in response to a complaint by one of Dr. Doe's patients, the hospital appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate the patient's complaint as well as other complaints of misconduct against that had been lodged against Dr. Doe. The committee reported its findings to the hospital's Medical Executive Committee (MEC). The ad hoc committee found that there had been a history of concerns about Dr. Doe's professional behavior both at the hospital and other hospitals where he previously had staff privileges. Ultimately, Dr. Doe stipulated to a 14-day suspension of his privileges and agreed to pursue a course of psychiatric treatment. Nevertheless, new allegations against Dr. Doe surfaced. The ad hoc committee found that there were four new allegations of misconduct against Dr. Doe. All of the allegations involved sexual misconduct by Dr. Doe. The ad hoc committee recommended that Dr. Doe's medical staff membership and clinical staff privileges be revoked. The MEC convened a special meeting. Following the meeting, at which Dr. Doe appeared, the MEC recommended that Dr. Doe's medical staff membership and clinical staff privileges be revoked. Dr. Doe appealed. The hospital's Medical Review Committee (MRC) was convened to hear Dr. Doe's appeal. The MRC affirmed the order of revocation. Dr. Doe appealed.

COURT'S OPINION: The Court of Appeal of California affirmed the revocation of Dr. Doe's privileges. The court held, inter alia, that there was clear and compelling evidence that Dr. Doe had repeatedly been involved in sexual harassment of both patients and hospital personnel. Editor's Note: There is no place in the medical profession for people like Dr. Doe. Hospitals would be remiss if they failed to take appropriate action against such physicians in a timely manner, and if necessary, acting summarily, to suspend such physicians "privileges pending a formal hearing with notice and due process. Unnamed Physician v. Enloe Medical Center, 2005 WL 428519--CA
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Title Annotation:Medical Malpractice Cases
Publication:Medical Law's Regan Report
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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