Cross-sectional analysis of the 1039 U.S. physicians reported to the national practitioner data bank for sexual misconduct, 2003-2013

Azza AbuDagga, Sidney M. Wolfe, Michael Carome, Robert E. Oshel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Little information exists on U.S. physicians who have been disciplined with licensure or restriction-of-clinical-privileges actions or have had malpractice payments because of sexual misconduct. Our objectives were to: (1) determine the number of these physicians and compare their age groups' distribution with that of the general U.S. physician population; (2) compare the type of disciplinary actions taken against these physicians with actions taken against physicians disciplined for other offenses; (3) compare the characteristics and type of injury among victims of these physicians with those of victims in reports for physicians with other offenses in malpractice-payment reports; and (4) determine the percentages of physicians with clinical-privileges or malpractice-payment reports due to sexual misconduct who were not disciplined by medical boards. Methods and Results: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of physician reports submitted to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) from January 1, 2003, through September 30, 2013. A total of 1039 physicians had ≥ 1 sexual-misconduct-related reports. The majority (75.6%) had only licensure reports, and 90.1%were 40 or older. For victims in malpractice-payment reports, 87.4% were female, and "emotional injury only" was the predominant type of injury. We found a higher percentage of serious licensure actions and clinical-privileges revocations in sexual-misconduct-related reports than in reports for other offenses (89.0% vs 68.1%, P = < .001, and 29.3% vs 18.8%, P = .002, respectively). Seventy percent of the physicians with a clinical-privileges or malpractice-payment report due to sexual misconduct were not disciplined by medical boards for this problem. Conclusions: A small number of physicians were reported to the NPDB because of sexual misconduct. It is concerning that a majority of the physicians with a clinical-privileges action or malpractice- payment report due to sexual misconduct were not disciplined by medical boards for this unethical behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0147800
JournalPloS one
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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