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Despite Deaths, D.C. License Upheld

City Board Chose Less Severe Penalties After Md. Abortion Complications

By Cheryl W. Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 11, 2005; Page A09

Two years after OB-GYN Gideon M. Kioko was found by the Maryland medical board to have mishandled abortions in 1989, he surrendered his license, which allowed him to avoid punishment. In one case, the patient died three days after the abortion; in the second, the woman suffered brain damage and died three years later. He petitioned the board for reinstatement a year later but was turned down. Nearly six years passed before the board restored his license -- with conditions.

In the District, however, where Kioko also was licensed, the city's medical board did not take the same hard line. It allowed him to continue practicing after the Maryland incidents.

D.C. resident Thakerya Drayton filed a complaint against Kioko with the D.C. medical board in August after profuse bleeding following an "incomplete abortion." (Juana Arias -- The Washington Post)

SUNDAY: Doctors with substance abuse problems are allowed to keep practicing, often despite relapses, and medical boards rarely revoke licenses.
Physicians Practice Despite Abuse
Some Doctors Sent to Rehab

MONDAY: A physician in Maryland or Virginia is twice as likely to be punished as a doctor in the District, where the medical board's record of serious disciplinary action has been among the lowest in the country.
D.C. Board Rarely Punishes Doctors
Despite Deaths, D.C. License Upheld
Graphic: Medical Discipline

TUESDAY: Doctors who are disciplined often restart their careers by moving to a another state, despite a federal system meant to prevent physicians from hiding troubled pasts.

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Pamela Johnson
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Many state medical boards allow you to search for your doctors' standing and medical compliance history.

Washington Post staff writer Cheryl Thompson discussed her "Special Treatment" series.
Audio: The Post's Thompson

When the board decided to act in 1996, it ignored an administrative law judge's recommendation to revoke his license. Instead, it placed him on probation, fined him $5,000, ordered community service and banned him from performing abortions in the city for five years. Three months later, the board lifted the abortion ban after a request from Kioko.

"I think they did the right thing," Kioko said in a recent interview. "They should have just left me alone."

Kioko, 65, maintained at the time that he did nothing wrong and in neither case was responsible for the anesthesia that was blamed for the problems. "The old story about me was completely twisted," he said in a recent interview.

In addition to the two deaths in Maryland, which prompted about a dozen people to write letters to city officials urging them to revoke his license, Kioko also had settled a $1 million malpractice lawsuit in 1995 filed by a female patient.

The D.C. medical board reinstated Kioko to unrestricted status in 1999 in an order signed by then-Chairman Robert T. Greenfield Jr., a physician who previously shared a practice with Kioko for 19 years, according to Kioko and board records.

Greenfield, who no longer has a medical practice with Kioko, said he recused himself from board deliberations. But because he was chairman, he said in an interview, "I had to sign it. He came before the board, we looked at his record and . . . deemed him fit to practice."

Kioko said his working relationship with Greenfield did not play a role in his reinstatement.

"Did he give me a break? No," Kioko said. "Should the vice chairman have signed it? Probably."

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