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.
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.