OPMC is, understandably, very vigilant when it comes to charges that a health care provider is using his position to have sexual contact with a patient. There are, however, many unfounded charges of sexual impropriety that are lodged against providers and OPMC certainly keeps that in mind when investigating these types of complaints. Usually, this situation falls into the area of “she said, he said,” making it very difficult to discern where the truth lies.
However, there is a rather common scenario that almost always ends with a loss of license. It plays out in this fashion: there is a sexual event and the patient leaves the office without anything being said. A few days later the patient calls on the phone and complains about the situation to the provider. The provider, during this discussion, acknowledges that the event took place. What the provider does not know is that the patient is making the call from a police station or the district attorney’s office and the conversation is being recorded. The situation has, in an instant, gone from “she said, he said” to “she said, he confessed?” It is now exceedingly likely that the provider will be convicted of some type of sexual offense, either through trial, or a plea bargain to stay out of jail. Then the matter will be reported to OPMC and, as is obvious, the provider’s license is in extreme jeopardy. (Note that the same result can occur if the patient returns to office to talk about the event in person and is wearing a recording device.)
So, the message to everyone should be clear: never have any type of sexual contact with a patient, as that contact is likely to result in a health care provider with a criminal record, minus a medical license.
This informational blog post was brought to you by Paul E. Walker, an experienced New York City OPMC & OPD Lawyer.