SPECIAL TREATMENT: Disciplining Doctors

A Washington Post Investigation

Day One

Doctors with substance abuse problems are allowed to keep practicing, often despite relapses, and medical boards rarely revoke licenses.

  • Medical Boards Let Physicians Practice Despite Drug Abuse, April 10, 2005
    Over the past 20 years, John F. Pholeric Jr. struggled on and off with cocaine addiction, cycled in and out of rehab and was convicted of a felony. During that time, he also practiced medicine.

  • After Stealing Drugs, Doctor Goes to Rehab, April 10, 2005
    When medical boards are faced with how to handle substance-abusing doctors, they often use rehabilitation as a substitute for discipline. In the Washington area and across the country, physicians who test positive for drug or alcohol abuse are monitored, and sometimes they must agree to therapy or other steps. But rarely are they banned from practicing.


  • Day Two

    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 Physicians, April 11, 2005
    For more than seven years, the D.C. Board of Medicine knew that something was amiss with Jewel A. Quinn's medical practice.

  • Despite Deaths, D.C. License Upheld, April 11, 2005
    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.


  • Day Three

    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.

  • Poor Performance Records Are Easily Outdistanced, April 12, 2005
    Gwyneth Vives was excited about becoming a mother for the first time at age 36. She shopped for baby outfits, attended birthing classes and painted moons and stars on the nursery ceiling for the infant she and her husband would name Alex.

  • A Track Record of Lies And of Job Dismissals, April 12, 2005
    Physician Mahmoud Nemazee has had career problems over the past 18 years, but he has always resurrected himself by moving on -- to a new job in a new place.

  • Red Flags About Md. Man Ignored, April 12, 2005
    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.

  • Multiple State Licenses Helped Shield History, April 12, 2005
    After physician Joseph S. Hayes was charged in 1999 with fondling female patients -- but before he was convicted -- he simply pulled out a different state license and moved. He left Tennessee and got a job at a wellness center in South Carolina, where he had held a license since 1973.


  • More From the Series

  • Editorial: Disciplining Doctors, April 14, 2005

  • D.C. Council Hearing Planned on Oversight of Doctors, April 14, 2005
    D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) has scheduled a hearing next month to consider the performance of the Board of Medicine and its oversight of the city's doctors.

  • D.C. Plans Greater Physician Oversight, May 24, 2005
    District lawmakers said yesterday that they will beef up the staff that investigates medical complaints and processes licenses in an effort to strengthen discipline and oversight of doctors and other health care providers.

  • D.C. Health Dept. Building Public Log of Physician Discipline, Feb. 12, 2006
    The D.C. Health Department has begun publishing online the disciplinary action its medical board takes against physicians.

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