Surgery shocker: Doctor accused of sexting in the operating room

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OLYMPIA, Washington — Seattle physician Arthur K. Zilberstein’s medical license has been suspended for allegedly exchanging sexually explicit texts during surgeries at Swedish Medical Center while he was the anesthesiologist and for other matters, the state Department of Health announced Monday.

KCPQ reports that the state Medical Quality Assurance Commission said that until charges are resolved, Zilberstein can’t practice as a physician in Washington. He has 20 days to respond to the charges and to request a hearing.

The commission’s statement of charges says Zilberstein compromised patient safety due to preoccupation with sexual matters while he was on hospital duty at Swedish Medical Center between at least April and August 2013.

“According to the charges, Zilberstein frequently exchanged sexually explicit texts during surgeries when he was the responsible anesthesiologist; improperly accessed medical-record imaging for sexual gratification; and had sexual encounters at his workplace,” the Health Department said.

Charges also state that Zilberstein issued at least 29 unauthorized prescriptions for controlled substances and legend drugs outside of his medical practice and didn’t conduct proper evaluations, diagnoses, or treatment plans for these patients.

Charges say he didn’t obtain their informed consent, provide anti-drug diversion safeguards for controlled substances, or keep medical records, and had sexual relations with one patient for whom he was prescribing drugs.

“During the investigation, it was found that Zilberstein made disparaging and racist remarks against a patient and misrepresented his work schedule to an investigator.”

The detailed documents charged that in one case, the doctor sent a color ‘selfie’ of him in his scrubs with his hospital badge and exposing his genitals to a patient.

Swedish Medical Center issued this statement Monday night: “The safety of our patients is our number one priority. 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.”

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