A Seattle doctor has been suspended by the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission for engaging in sexual activity on hospital grounds, accessing medical record images for sexual gratification, signing off on unauthorized prescriptions, and sexting during surgery. Arthur K. Zilberstein, an anesthesiologist and surgeon at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, has 20 days to respond to his charges and request a hearing before he is completely stripped of his medical license in Washington.
"The safety of our patients is our number one priority," the Swedish Medical Center said in a statement. "Once we learned that the State had suspended this physician's medical license, the physician's Medical Staff membership and privileges were immediately suspended. We just recently learned of these allegations and are conducting our own internal review of the physician, who is not directly employed by Swedish."
According to the Washington State Department of Health, Zilberstein is being accused of endangering the safety of patients “due to his preoccupation with sexual matters while he was on hospital duty between at least April and August 2013.” A preliminary investigation has revealed an estimated 29 unauthorized prescriptions for illegal substances and medications outside of his practice without evaluations, diagnoses, or treatment plans for the patients. He is also accused of accessing confidential medical records to fuel his sexual habits and engaging in sexual activity at the hospital during shifts.
Investigators have currently recovered nearly 250 text messages featuring either sexual references or sexual images of his genitalia that he sent while performing medical procedures, including Cesarean deliveries, pediatric appendectomies, epidurals, tubal ligations, cardiac probe insertions, The Washington Post reported. One text sent to a patient displayed the disgraced surgeon with his genitals exposed while wearing his hospital badge and scrubs.
Charges claim Zilberstein misrepresented his work schedule to investigators and made disparaging and racist remarks toward a patient. He has been licensed in the state of Washington since 1995 and will not be permitted to practice medicine until his charges are resolved.