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Doctors Behaving Badly: Hawaii psychiatrist hides from sex abuse troubles with "mahalo" from state

Doctors Behaving Badly: Hawaii psychiatrist hides from sex abuse troubles with "mahalo" from state

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The Hawaii Professional and Vocational Licensing division could not possibly make it harder to find information about a doctor's misdeeds.

In 2010, with every conceivable type of document available online, the home state of our current president – himself by all accounts a technologically savvy person – presents patients a confusing and misleading maze of information. Its home page offers no clue as to where one might even find a doctor's license number. There is a reference to the Hawaii Medical Board but no link. When you click on FAQs, you are presented with a series of pages that look like they are solely for people who have MDs, not for people trying to find out about their doctors. Only at the very end of Page 8 does the document provide a link promising a "License and Business Complaints History Search." The link,, does not work.

After 20 minutes, Antidote found its way to a license search page. Enter "harold goldberg" and you will be told there is nothing in the database. Enter "goldberg" and scroll through all the names until you see his name. Prepare to be underwhelmed. There are literally six facts provided, including the fact that he is an "individual."

Here are some of the facts that are missing. Dr. Harold Goldberg is a psychiatrist who once practiced in Massachusetts. While there, according to Boston Magazine, he frequently violated the doctor-patient boundary.

Another psychiatrist, Harold Goldberg, settled four sex-abuse cases in Massachusetts before moving to Hawaii, where he continued to practice. In a deposition in a case brought against him, he was asked whether a North Shore patient with whom he had had sex in Massachusetts ever lied to him.

"Yes," Goldberg replied.

"And when?" the lawyer asked.

"She told me she'd never sue me for malpractice."

He was suspended by the state Department of Mental Health for having an 11-year sexual relationship with one patient. And the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine took his license away. And yet, in Hawaii, Goldberg has practiced without any license restrictions. He has even been hired as an expert witness in, believe it or not, a sexual assault case.

Of course this makes sense. How would an attorney be able to challenge Goldberg's credentials if the Hawaii Medical Board has done everything in its power to obscure his past from view?

Final question: Is there some small incentive that health reform could play in gently forcing boards like Hawaii's to get in line with most of the rest of the country and make it simple for patients to find much needed details about their physicians? Or, is this yet another argument for making the National Practitioner Data Bank open to everyone?

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Good article on a very prevalent problem!

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I am a patient of Dr. Goldberg and knew about the trouble he had in the past. I have never been treated inappropriately by him and have been a patient for about 8 years. People make mistakes in their lives but it doesn't mean they don't learn from them.
I originally became a patient when I got pregnant with my son and wanted to make sure I was taking an antidepressant that was safe for me and my baby. He has always cared for my best interests and treated me like a family member or a good friend. He works with you to find a treatment that works best for you. If you ask to try a new medication and he thinks it's something beneficial, then he will prescribe it. You are allowed to be involved in your recovery and he takes the time to get to know you.
My overall opinion of him is that he's a good man who happened to make a very bad choice in the past. How many of us have made wrong decisions in our lives? If he didn't care about helping people, do you think he would still try being in this profession? I'm happy that I have him as my doctor and wouldn't want to see anyone else.

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Your previous patient who stood up for their psychiatrist is misguided.
As someone who was victimized by a licensed Psychiatrist in Hawaii, and paid a confidential
small malpractice settlement, I could not disagree more. This article is addressing the mode of licensing,
and reprocussions for the MD psychiatrist which are nothing. Basically they are hidden, and the
national clearing house for those with settled malpractice suits, are hidden also. It is still that way.
I looked up a way to find out if this psychiatrist has had any malpractice settlements, and there is no way to
trace it, and the data bank dose not address the names of the doctors, just as the article stated. He comes up
clear, which is alarming because he is licensed in 2 other states as well.
This state has a self reporting law, that is nothing, a $100. fine, if the Dr. does not report in 30 days, and good luck in a doctor reporting himself, HRS CHAPTER 453-8.7 (b)
Many of these horrible actions, especially of psychiatrists, are settled and not reported, because the Malpractice insurance companies, only pay a small amount for INTENTIONAL, AND OR SEXUAL actions.
Then the dr. has up to 1,000,000. in legal representation. Any small firm, or independent attorney can't go up
against them. Taking a settlement, however small, in these cases is what is often wrongly recommended by an
attorney, just to settle.
Knowing this system now, as a patient, in all these areas, including the INEPT, and dangerous lack of
oversite by the STATE OF HAWAII, leaves patients as risk.
A psychiatrist, or any doctor, or therapist, is never supposed to have any inappropriate contact with the patient.
NO matter what.
For a patient who is vulnerable, and spilling there insides out, in sessions, that can seem intimate, and the
therapist crosses the line, is dangerous, which is why there are ethical, and professional codes to obey.
This article addresses the state of Hawaii, I don't know about other states, however, Minnesota, has convicted
a psychiatrist of a felony, is a similar case as mine, and he has gotten a 10 yr prison sentence.
I was the victim, of not only his manipulation, but by a greedy attorney, and the State of Hawaii, who must revamp the laws regarding MD's reporting, and in fact the insurance companies paying out these claims.
Knowing what I know now, I would have just gone through the complaint process without an attorney, and brought this out in the open. When this all started I was like a deer in the headlights and could not know where
this was headed. That is why I did not start the complaint process. I kept asking the attorney, he said he would,
but then when offered some money he said we were forced to settle or get nothing.
I urge anyone, to first go through the complaint process, no matter what, and bring this out in the open.
These confidential settlements allow no further complaints, or comments, other than 'it was settled confidentially." A state or governmental agency, or a subpoena, can allow the former patient to
give details. However, in this state, the self reporting of the Dr. and the Insurance Company who in this state
is not required to report, leaves the public and state officials, no way to find out.
It is absurd and dangerous to the public.


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