DesJarlais Could Face Discipline Over Sexual Relationship With Patient

At least five Tennessee physicians have been disciplined for having consensual sexual relationships with patients since mid-2005, according to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press’ review of state records.
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Jasper, isn’t one of them, despite conducting such a relationship with a patient he met on the job. His record shows no history of patient complaints, and he’s still a registered family practice physician whose license doesn’t expire until 2014.
But even though it’s at least a decade old, a phone transcript that revealed DesJarlais pressuring his former patient to abort a pregnancy could lead to disciplinary action.
“There is no statute of limitations on filing complaints against licensed health professionals,” said Shelley Walker, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Health.
Walker said “anyone who has information” on possible physician misconduct can file a report with the department’s complaints division. Complaints that can be substantiated are passed on to the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, which disciplines physicians and other health professionals.
The board never reveals the names of those who file complaints.
…An anti-abortion freshman legislator, DesJarlais often hypes his medical career — his campaign signs simply say “Dr. Scott DesJarlais.” He plans on returning to medicine after six terms in Congress.
In an interview Friday, DesJarlais said he exercised “poor judgment,” but doesn’t see the doctor-patient relationship as “a disqualifying issue” for a post-congressional career.
“I’m confident that a professional review would allow me to continue to practice medicine,” he said
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