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Words Of Wisdom

Doctor Sues Former Patients Over Allegations of Sexual Contact

A doctor in Crystal Lake is suing three former patients for defamation over their allegations that he fondled them in his office. Dr. Mahesh Parikh, a neurologist, had his medical license suspended indefinitely last year as a result of the claims. But he has denied any misconduct and is seeking to have his license reinstated. His attorney said that since Parikh was stripped of his ability to practice medicine…

Crystal Lake neurologist never charged with crime, but license was suspended last year.

 

…his reputation has been harmed, he has lost his annual income of $1 million and his home is in foreclosure.

The doctor filed separate defamation lawsuits this month against three former patients and the mother of one of the patients. That woman, who testified against Parikh at regulatory hearings leading to his suspension, said she was taken aback that the lawsuits publicly name the three alleged victims.

“This is an appalling action by a remorseless individual who is trying to intimidate those who would testify against him,” the mother wrote in an email. The Tribune is not naming her or the patients to protect the identities of the three alleged victims of sexual misconduct.

Parikh’s attorney, Rishi Agrawal, said he would file an amended suit that will identify the patients by initials only, calling it a “more appropriate” way to handle the unusual case, but said the baseless allegations against Parikh justified the lawsuits.

“We’re trying to right this wrong for this man who has contributed so much to the community,” Agrawal said. “We’re trying to get him back to practicing medicine.”

In response to an inquiry about Parikh’s lawsuits, Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, noted that the Medical Practice Act “specifically prohibits breaching patient confidentiality,” and protects people from civil liability if they contact regulators under the act.

Disclosing a patient’s name, without disclosing protected health information, is not generally a violation of federal law, said Joel Shalowitz, director of health industry management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. But that doesn’t make the lawsuit a good idea in his eyes.

“By making this a very prominent case, (the doctor is) probably making a strategic error in trying to restore his reputation,” said Shalowitz, adding that he had never heard of a similar suit by a doctor against a patient. “If he gets his license back nobody will know, but if he sues, it’s news, and his name will be all over the place.”

The case that led to Parikh losing his license involved a college-age woman who saw him on multiple occasions in 2008 and 2009 to treat migraine headaches and other ailments, according to her testimony at a disciplinary hearing for the doctor.

When the patient complained of breast tenderness, she testified, the doctor said it was a side effect of a drug he had prescribed for her, and he touched her breasts on repeated visits. During later visits, she claimed, he touched her vaginal area under her clothes.

Original Words by Robert McCopplin – August 12, 2013
Chicago Tribune Reporter