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Should criminal allegations lead to loss of hospital privileges?

A pediatric surgeon facing allegations of cybersnooping on his now ex-girlfriend is in the midst a national debate over when a physician should lose his or her hospital privileges. Should the hospital consider a physician accused of a crime innocent until proven guilty? Or should the accused physician lose his or her right to practice based on criminal charges alone?

An ex-girlfriend accuses the physician of accessing her security cameras on a regular basis. She installed the security cameras after she was the victim of a burglary. The physician states that the woman gave him access to the cameras and requested he check in because she feared for her safety. As a result, he regularly checked the feed from common areas of the home, her family room and living room. He checked in both during the relationship and for a short period of time after he ended the relationship. Those close to the physician support this explanation.

The pediatric surgeon has a good professional and personal reputation. He is a veteran and graduate of Yale University that has worked with the hospital for over a decade and has a history of charitable work. Representatives with the hospital note they are following the criminal investigation but have not taken away the physician’s privileges to practice within the facility.

The doctor is charged with unlawful access of a computer device, unlawful use of a two way communication device and video voyeurism-acts. He maintains his innocence and has pled not guilty.

The criminal justice system maintains the innocence of the accused until guilt is proven. Professional organizations do not always hold this same standard. As such, medical professionals that find themselves accused of this or similar crimes are wise to take steps to protect their reputation.

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