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Doctor Accused of Molesting 4 Patients

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WFTV.com
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A doctor accused of sexually abusing four women patients at clinics in Melbourne and Daytona Beach should lose his license, the Florida Board of Medicine said Friday.

The board threw out a settlement that would have allowed Dr. Albert Esmailzadeh to keep practicing as long as he didn’t treat women patients. That emergency restriction was imposed in March.

But board members said he shouldn’t be seeing any patients, male or female.

“This is a bad actor, a real bad actor,” said board chairman Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah.   

The board, which revoked the licenses of several doctors at its meeting in Orlando on Friday, could not take that step with Esmailzadeh because his attorney had reached a settlement with Department of Health prosecutors to resolve the cases.

The settlement included a reprimand, $20,000 fine, and some courses. The gender restriction on his license would remain until the physician could demonstrate that he could see women patients safely.

The strongest action the board could take in such a situation was to reject the settlement, which it did unanimously. Then members made a “counter-offer” to settle the case with revocation, which Esmailzadeh’s attorney said will be rejected.  That would set the stage for a formal hearing with witnesses and evidence; the hearing officer’s recommendation would then come back to the board for final action. All this takes months, often years.

The accusations against Esmailzadeh, who is certified in pain management by the American Board of Pain Medicine, involved four women, including three who came forward after the first one filed a complaint. Three of the women were his patients while he worked at The BACK Center in Melbourne in 2011. The fourth saw him in January 2013 at Advantacare in Daytona Beach, records show.  They said that Esmailzadeh touched them sexually while he was examining or treating them; two of them were receiving injections in their back at the time.

The attorney for one of the patients who complained, Robert J. Ratiner of Miami, attended the Board of Medicine meeting to ask for strong action. Ratiner said Esmailzadeh continued to molest women even after he knew he was under investigation

“That shows depravity,” Ratiner said. “Brazen depravity.”

--Health News Florida is part of WUSF Public Media. Contact Editor Carol Gentry at 813-974-8629 (desk) or e-mail at cgentry@wusf.org. For more health news, visit HealthNewsFlorida.org.