New California Law Bars Doctors Who Sexually Abuse Patients From Getting Licenses Back

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California AB 1636 Ensures Doctors Convicted of Sex Crimes Will Not Get Licenses Back

California AB 1636 Ensures Doctors Convicted of Sex Crimes Will Not Get Licenses Back

Sep 29, 2022

Under a new California law, the state’s medical board is prohibited from granting a license to physicians whose credentials were previously surrendered or revoked on grounds of sexual misconduct with patients. California Assembly Bill 1636 (AB 1636) ensures that doctors who previously sexually abused patients will no longer be able to win back licenses through an appeals process.

New California Law Bars Doctors Who Sexually Abuse Patients From Getting Licenses Back

California AB 1636 authorizes the state medical board to “deny a license based on formal discipline that occurred earlier than seven years preceding the date of application if the formal discipline was based on conduct that, if committed in this state by a licensed physician and surgeon, would have constituted an act of sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient or sexual exploitation, as specified,” according to the bill’s text.

According to a MedPageToday.com report, the law “appears to be the only of its kind in the nation.” Prior to AB 1636 being passed, a physician whose license was revoked or surrendered because of earlier sexual misconduct violations could reapply after two or three years and return to practice if approved, MedPageToday.com confirmed.

Furthermore, California AB 1636 requires that the state medical board automatically revoke a physician’s license “if the licensee has been convicted, as specified, in any court in or outside of this state of an offense that, if committed or attempted in this state, based on the elements of the convicted offense, would have been punishable as an offense for which a specified provision of the Sex Offender Registration Act requires registration as a sex offender.”

As MedPageToday.com reported, the wording of California AB 1636 also “leaves open the possibility that it could apply to as many as 18 other health licensing agencies that are asked to grant or renew the license for a clinician who engaged in sexual misconduct.”

Carlos Villatoro, a spokesperson for the Medical Board of California (MBC), confirmed that California AB 1636’s language allows for oversight from additional licensing agencies in the Golden State.

“While the MBC licenses some 145,000 physicians, other boards license hundreds of thousands of health professionals such as nurses, physician assistants, dentists, podiatrists, psychologists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, optometrists, and pharmacists,” MedPageToday.com reported.

AB 1636 Legislation Prompted After 2021 Los Angeles Times’ Investigation

In December 2021, a troubling report from the Los Angeles Times detailed numerous instances of California doctors who had been reinstated by the state medical board despite allegations and even convictions of sexual abusing patients. According to the investigation, since 2013, 10 California doctors were confirmed to have successfully regained their licenses after losing them for sexual misconduct.

“The state medical board, which has long battled allegations that it goes easy on bad doctors and fails to protect patients, reinstated more than half of all sex abusers who sought to get their licenses back, a rate significantly higher than for doctors who lost their licenses for all other reasons,” the Los Angeles Times’ report confirmed following a review of board data.

The Los Angeles Times’ report identified specific Southern California-based doctors whose licenses had been reinstated despite sexual misconduct allegations:

  • Dr. Esmail Nadjmabadi of Bakersfield
  • Dr. Zachary Cosgrove of Bakersfield
  • Dr. Hari M. Reddy of Victorville
  • Dr. Shahab “Sean” Ataee of Fountain Valley
  • Dr. Anshul Gandhi of Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles

From a total of 17 physicians who had previously lost their licenses due to sexual misconduct, 10 were reinstated, according to the Times’ investigation – a reinstatement rate of nearly 60%.

How Often Does Doctor Sexual Misconduct Occur?

U.S. doctor sexual abuse or misconduct occurs more often than people may realize. The following statistics have been confirmed.

– 2017 exploratory analysis of 101 cases of physician sexual abuse of patients found that the primary forms of abuse found in such instances were:

  • Inappropriate touching (33%)
  • Sodomy (31%)
  • Rape (16%)
  • Child molestation (14%)
  • Purportedly consensual sex (7%)

– 2016 analysis of data from the U.S. NPDB showed that from January 2003 through September 2013, 862 physicians had state licensing disciplinary actions because of sexual misconduct, totaling 974 such actions.

– The U.S. rate of such disciplinary actions was approximately 9.5 per 10,000 physicians per 10 years.

To check your doctor’s background using the Medical Board of California’s license verification search engine, click here.

How to File a Doctor Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit against a doctor or healthcare provider can not only help the survivor obtain financial compensation and justice, but it can also help ensure that the bad actor does not harm another patient.

Examples of plaintiffs that may be eligible to file doctor sexual abuse civil claims include:

  • The survivor of the sexual abuse or assault
  • The survivor’s family members
  • A parent or guardian of a minor who was sexually abused by a doctor
  • A spouse of a survivor
  • A witness to the abuse

Depending on the circumstances of your unique case, various damages may be awarded in doctor sexual abuse claims:

  • Counseling or therapy expenses
  • Emotional trauma
  • Hospital or medical expenses
  • Psychological distress
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced or diminished earning capacity
  • Reduced or diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering

If you experienced a sexual assault incident, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

To arrange for a free and confidential consultation with a Dordulian Law Group (DLG) California doctor sexual abuse attorney, contact us via 818-322-4056. We are available 24/7 to discuss your case and will provide you with an overview of all available legal options, an estimate for how long it may take to reach a cash settlement, and a projection for how much your claim may be worth.

Contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) today. Our sex crime attorneys have helped victims recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success rate.

If you would like to take the first step toward securing justice for your doctor or healthcare provider sexual assault claim, DLG’s attorneys are here to fight aggressively on your behalf. DLG’s doctor sexual abuse lawyers are your dedicated legal advocates, and we will work tirelessly to recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve.


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