Dangerous Doctors Keep Working Due to Flawed Reporting to National Database

From AllGov:


By Jeff Ernsthausen, New York Times


ATLANTA — No red flags were apparent when the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine checked Dr. Jaroslav “Jerry” Stulc’s background in 2007. But within months of joining a hospital staff, the surgeon was accused of sexual misconduct.


Two employees reported finding printouts of nude images of women at his desk. They also alleged that Stulc would sometimes touch patients in ways the two found inappropriate, such as patting their buttocks and caressing their faces. One recounted his making lewd sexual remarks to a male patient being treated for rectal bleeding.


The next month, the two discovered more nude images on his computer. The same day, court records show that two nurses reported Stulc wasn’t wearing gloves when he examined the rectal and vaginal area of a patient while she was under general anesthesia before surgery. The medical profession considers that a form of sexual misconduct, though it was reported as an infection-control violation.


Stulc denied all the allegations, except the pornography, the charge on which the hospital took action. It suspended him with pay. Then, while he was out, the hospital and medical board learned that Stulc previously had been suspended by a Kentucky hospital following allegations of sexual misconduct and other disruptive behavior.


Skirting federal rules, the Kentucky hospital hadn’t reported his suspension or subsequent resignation to the nationwide database established for hospitals and medical boards to share information on physician misconduct.


Instead, just before Stulc applied for his Maine license, he and the hospital had agreed that he would voluntarily resign and never reapply for privileges. The hospital wouldn’t mention the suspension — or much else — to anyone who inquired.


Such private agreements, along with legal loopholes and outright flouting …

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