The Texas Medical Board routinely allows doctors accused of sexual abuse of patients to keep their licenses, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Between 1999 and 2016, three out of every four Texas doctors disciplined for sexual improprieties with patients were allowed to continue working as physicians. Of the 200 doctors disciplined, about 50 lost their licenses. Of the remaining 150 who were allowed to keep working as physicians, about half continue to practice today. Medical board orders can be so vague that the average reader wouldn’t have a clear idea of what the doctor did wrong. In one order, the medical board wrote that “some patients expressed discomfort with the examination techniques” used by a doctor. But a different state document provided more details: allegations that the doctor had kissed an 11-year-old on the lips and had inappropriately touched the breasts of two other females.
Psychiatric exams, boundaries courses and ethics classes are routinely used to discipline doctors who cross the line, but some physicians continue to cross the line. Medical board officials take issue with the Statesman’s findings, saying the list of doctors the newspaper provided to the board includes a wide variation of allegations, from an inappropriate remark to sexual assault. They say it is difficult to take stronger action against doctors who have been acquitted of sexual offenses in court.