A Seattle anesthesiologist had his medical license suspended last week after being accused of sexting during surgeries, accessing medical images for sexual gratification and prescribing prescription medications for improper reasons.
The accusations were made against Dr. Arthur Zilberstein in a 17-page statement of charges from the Washington State Department of Health. The document states that Zilberstein frequently initiated many sexually explicit text messaging conversations during surgeries in which he was the lead anesthesiologist.
“He’s supposed to be focusing on the patient during the surgery,” said Kelly Stowe, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Health.
Here is an example from the statement of charges showing the type of texting Zilberstein routinely did during procedures:
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"In a text message one minute before Patient T's July 24, 2013 surgery, at 2:33 p.m., Respondent texted to his girlfriend a description of his immediate sexual desire for her. Respondent was the responsible anesthesiologist for Patient T between 2:34 p.m. and 3:33 p.m. Respondent exchanged fifteen additional text messages during that surgery between 3:11 p.m. and 3:31 p.m. to arrange a covert encounter with his girlfriend at the hospital. Six of these text messages were initiated by the Respondent."
The Department of Health also accused Zilberstein of tarnishing the reputation of the medical profession after they discovered he sent selfies with his genitals exposed while wearing his medical clothing and hospital ID badge.
Zilberstein is also accused of scheduling medical appointments for his girlfriend in order to have sex with her and improperly prescribing narcotic painkillers. In addition, he accessed his girlfriend's medical records for his own "sexual gratification."
The hospital he works at, Swedish Medical Center, responded to the allegations recently.
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“The safety of our patients is our number one priority,” the hospital said. “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."
Zilberstein has 20 days to respond to the accusations, and is barred from practicing medicine until the case is resolved.