Worrisome, to say the least

I hadn't heard anything at all about this:
Dr. Melvin D. Levine, the North Carolina pediatrician who faces a lawsuit accusing him of molesting young boys during physical examinations, has signed a consent order agreeing that he will never again practice medicine in North Carolina or anywhere else.

In the consent order, which was approved by the state medical board today, the board said that it had been prepared to present testimony that the genital examinations Dr. Levine conducted on five unnamed patients were conducted outside the presence of a parent or chaperone, were not medically indicated and were either not documented in the medical record, or not documented according to prevailing standards.


There have been complaints against Dr. Levine dating back more than two decades.

In 1985, a few months after he left Boston, court records show that a letter of complaint was sent to the president of Children’s Hospital. That complaint turned into a civil lawsuit filed in 1988 in Federal District Court in Massachusetts.

There was also a formal complaint to the Massachusetts medical board in 1993. And a longtime medical colleague, Dr. William Coleman, said Dr. Levine told him in 2002 that another former patient was claiming sexual abuse.

None of the cases were proved in court.

The lawsuit was dismissed in 1991 for lack of evidence. The Massachusetts medical board did not find enough evidence to act on the 1993 complaint. The patient who made the complaint to Dr. Levine in 2002 is now a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Carmen Durso, a Boston lawyer.

Mr. Durso has said that more than 50 other former patients or their parents have been in contact with him with complaints about Dr. Levine.
It is, of course, important not to convict a man of sexually predatory behavior in the court of public opinion, and to presume his innocence, just like anyone else's. It is the nightmare of every doctor to be falsely accused of inappropriate behavior of this sort, and so most of us tend to be hyper-vigilant. It is plausible, if highly suspicious, for various isolated incidents to be unrelated to actual misconduct, and the statement from a plaintiff's attorney should be viewed with some skepticism. But Dr. Levine worked with vulnerable patients, and it seems safe to say that he erred (at the very least) in how he did so. Failing a miscarriage of justice, appropriate documentation would have satisfied a medical board, and would not have led to a suspension of his license to practice.

The prospect of a pediatrician taking sexual liberties deserves oppobrium, not commentary. Indeed, what can be said? For my part, all I can do is shake my head, and continue to take the steps necessary to keep my own practice above the hint of suspicion.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that he should never be allowed to practice any form of medicine ever again!