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Red Flags About Md. Man Ignored

With Each New Job, More Accusations of Substance and Sex Abuse

By Cheryl W. Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page A07

Obstetrician-gynecologist Jeffrey M. Levitt needed a job, and Stuttgart, Ark., needed an OB-GYN. So the country town about an hour southeast of Little Rock was prepared to overlook the warning signs.

Board records from Maryland and Florida show that Levitt lost his Maryland medical license in 1993 for having sex with two patients and "had to be asked to not carry a gun" when he worked at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.


Margie Galanos, formerly of Maryland, spent 46 days in a critical-care unit with a punctured bladder and bowel after a laparoscopy by Jeffrey M. Levitt. "I was in so much pain that I just prayed to God to let me pass out," she said. Levitt blamed contaminated equipment. (Erik S. Lesser For 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.
Track Record of Lies, Job Dismissals
Red Flags About Md. Man Ignored
Multiple Licenses to Conceal History

_____Graphic_____
The Movements of Pamela L. Johnson

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Jewel Quinn

_____Transcript_____
The Medical Community: Arthur Caplan, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania discussed bioethics.


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



So when he learned about the Arkansas job through a job placement agency, he applied.

"The staff at Stuttgart Regional Medical Center is willing to take a chance on him in spite of the red flags," Noble B. Daniel, then the hospital's chief of staff, wrote in a December 1995 letter to the Arkansas State Medical Board.

Gary P. Wood, the town's retiring obstetrician, warned the Arkansas board to examine Levitt's history in Maryland.

"When folks get into that kind of trouble, they go anyplace people will have them," Wood said in an interview. Stuttgart hospital administrators, he said, "felt that they needed somebody so badly that they could overlook the red flags. Bad choice."

The Arkansas board granted Levitt a temporary license in December 1995, and Stuttgart welcomed him.

But within three months, the situation soured. Levitt said in a recent interview that he was forced from the hospital after "a woman made allegations that I made a pass at her and said something lewd." There were also rumors that he was an alcoholic, he said. He has denied the accusations. "Everything I did, they twisted. I couldn't get anyone to listen to me."

In 1996, Levitt returned to practice in Maryland, which had reinstated his license on probation after a year, despite the three-year suspension in 1993, according to board records.

But in 1998, the Maryland medical board began an investigation after a patient complained that Levitt wrote her prescriptions and told her to bring him some of the drugs for his use, board records show.


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