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Doctors Behaving Badly: Louisiana board keeps doctor's inappropriate history hush-hush

Doctors Behaving Badly: Louisiana board keeps doctor's inappropriate history hush-hush

Picture of William Heisel

Antidote wrote last week about an odd rule set by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners that allows a doctor accused of "inappropriate conduct" with female patients to continue seeing patients with a chaperone, unless they are 60 or older. At that age, the board considers the patients risk-free and allows the doctor to see them alone.

Some of the comments I received included:

"In how many ways is this warped?"

"Bizarre! Creepy!"

And, one word: "Ageism."

Antidote requested all records related to the doctor in question. The board responded fairly promptly. Within 72 hours of the request, the board provided me with two documents. One was the same document the board had posted online, the consent order. The other was proof of the doctor having a license to practice medicine.

What about the administrative complaint against the physician? Is that not part of the public record?

The board says "no," making it, as far as Antidote can tell, part of a slim minority of states that make that information secret. Not to make the situation overly dramatic, but every first-year journalism student has heard of the "Star Chamber." One of the great failings of this Old World judicial body was that it met in secret, preventing even the accused's family members from knowing the charges against them.

Shrouding the charges in secret does a disservice to the public and also to the accused. Take this case: all we have been allowed to know is that this doctor was accused of inappropriate conduct with two female patients. Did he say something off-color to them? Did he touch them inappropriately? Did he engage in a long-term relationship with them? The board says that the public is not entitled to know, so suspicions are left to grow into whatever boogeymen the imagination can conjure.

Note of Gratitude: I gave a round of thanks last week, and I had to stop for the sake of not sounding like an Oscar speech. Antidote appreciates the efforts of these writers who helped steer people toward the Doctors Behaving Badly Google map: Carole LaPine at the NAMSS blog, Jasper Jaen at Austin Post, Barbara Duck at The Medical Quack, Amanda Jaques at Examiner.com, Phylis Feiner Johnson at the Epilepsy Foundation's eCommunities blog, American Health Line, and the 718 people on NPR's Facebook page who "liked" or commented on NPR's post about the map. You all gave Antidote some great ideas for improving the DBB map.

Related Posts:

Doctors Behaving Badly: Sixty-somethings, beware of this inappropriate internist with a secret past

Doctors Behaving Badly: Medical boards should drop the stone tools, join the digital age

Doctor appointed as medical board supervisor had been disciplined in New York, California

Doctors Behaving Badly: Psychiatrist drew the sex abuse line at coworkers

 

 

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