Friday, July 30, 2010

IL doctor allegedly assaults several female patients, may not permanently lose license

**Trigger warning for sexual assault**

Terrible news from my home state:

A 17-year-old girl reported to Berwyn police in 2003 that her doctor, Ricardo Arze, had pulled off her clothes and sexually assaulted her in his exam room, state records show.

Two years later, another patient reported to Berwyn police that Arze had placed his hands on her breasts, breathed heavily on her neck and tried to touch her genitals, claiming it would help treat depression, according to a police report.

Not until 2007 -- after at least four women had filed complaints -- did police launch the investigation that led to Arze being charged with sexually assaulting patients and having his license suspended, records show.

By that time, the family physician had allegedly assaulted at least 21 women and girls at his Arze Doctors Center in Berwyn, according to criminal and civil complaints that outline attacks stretching at least to 2000.

...That police had received allegations against Arze as early as 2003 came as a shock to one of the women who reported being abused by him in 2007.

"I am disgusted," she said of law enforcement. "They should investigate why they didn't do anything. They were accomplices."

The women said they continue to suffer trauma from the incidents. They cannot see male doctors. One has recurring dreams about her alleged attack.

Arze, who is scheduled to be in court Aug. 16, won't lose his medical license for good even if convicted of all the sexual assault and battery of patient charges.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has interpreted the state Medical Practice Act to mean that it cannot permanently revoke a physician's license unless a doctor has been twice convicted of felonies involving controlled substances or public aid offenses.

A Tribune review uncovered 16 convicted sex offenders who have held Illinois medical licenses within the past 15 years. Not one had his license permanently revoked. One doctor convicted of sexually abusing a patient was never disciplined by the state in any way.



Victoria said...

Um, what about the oath to do no harm? I would think that sexually assaulting patients is most definitely harmful and warrants a permanent license loss.

I really hope those women see justice.

Amelia said...

I need to read more about the Medical Practice Act that's cited in this article, because that's the basis on which this man might not permanently lose his license...and that's highly disturbing.

Anonymous said...

This is such bullsh*t... one of the reasons I prefer going with female doctors, although I'd much rather live in a world where I'd be comfortable with both.

The fact that this isn't taken seriously reminds me of an older professor who went to Knox in the late 60's, talking about how a Galesburg doctor would have all women take their shirts and bras off, regardless of what they came in for. She said most girls just laughed it off, being unable to do anything about it.
-Christy R.