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When you and your patient are at odds: Get help quickly

Two different people can see the same events through wildly different points of view -- which, unfortunately, can lead up to charges of ethical violations or professional misconduct.

For example, a California psychiatrist, who has been in practice since 1978, now stands accused of sexual assault by three of his patients. As a result, the doctor's license to practice his trade has been suspended at least until his formal hearing before the administrative review -- at which point he could very well lose his license to practice in California all together.

However, the doctor and his patients see the encounters between them very differently -- which is a hazard in any profession. However, psychiatry creates a unique emotional bond between the doctor and the patient in order to be effective. That can sometimes blur the ordinary professional boundaries and make it hard for a psychiatrist to know how to react to a budding problem.

While the doctor acknowledges that he crossed some boundaries in a relationship with one of his patients, he denies any allegations of sexual assault. He claims recorded phone conversations between them were his attempt to humor a patient who was trying to seduce him.

Another patient claims that the doctor actually pulled the top half of her clothing down and exposed her breast during a session. She claims she ordered him to keep away -- yet she continued to make and keep more appointments with him. That does tend to make a casual observer question the veracity of her statements.

It's important to remember that administrative reviews don't function like ordinary civil trials; however, the rules of evidence are different and the bureaucratic hazards aren't the same. You need an experienced attorney to help you put your best defense forward when charged with an ethics violation or misconduct -- ideally to guide you to a favorable decision. Failing that, the attorney needs to know how to file the appropriate appeals.

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Law Office of Zachary D. Wechsler

21515 Hawthorne Blvd., #610
Torrance, CA 90503

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