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    Board revokes doctor's license

    By WES ALLISON and MIKE BRASSFIELD

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001


    The Florida Board of Medicine on Saturday revoked the license of a Zephyrhills doctor accused of fondling a female patient during an exam, one of several charges of sexual misconduct that have been alleged against him.

    The board rejected a recommendation by an administrative law judge that Dr. Zafar Shah be placed on probation for one year, be fined $2,500 and take a course called "Professional Boundaries: Preserving the Physician-Patient Relationship."

    The board could have affirmed the judge's recommendation or sent it back to the judge for additional review.

    In his ruling, Administrative Law Judge William Cave found that Shah improperly touched an 18-year-old woman's genitals with his bare hands during an exam and "fondled or otherwise touched (the woman's) genitalia which was outside the standard of care and constituted sexual misconduct in the practice of medicine."

    The woman had gone to see him about a possible urinary infection.

    In 1999 and 2000, Shah was arrested three times on sex charges. He was accused of inappropriate contact with three teenage girls during 1999. He was cleared in a trial last summer of one charge of sexual battery involving a 15-year-old patient in a trial last summer, and the state declined to prosecute two other charges. In the remaining case, Shah is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old family friend. He says he is innocent.

    Despite the acquittal and lack of prosecution, the state Board of Medicine pressed ahead with administrative complaints last year.

    In other disciplinary action against Tampa Bay area doctors Saturday, the board:

    Fined Dr. Alfred V. Hess of Tampa $20,000 for performing the wrong operation on a patient's wrist. The doctor realized the mistake and did the correct operation, then properly reported the error to the state.

    Hess was reprimanded, was put on probation for a year, and was ordered to give 10 one-hour lectures to doctors around the state on the topic of surgical mistakes.

    Fined Dr. Alan T. Braunstein of Brandon $1,000 for failing to refer for additional testing a patient who eventually developed prostate cancer. A test had shown the man may have had cancer. Braunstein was put on probation for two years and must go through five hours of medical education about prostate cancer.

    Postponed making a decision in the case of Dr. Carl Fromhagen of Clearwater, accused of failing to order a biopsy after a patient complained of a lump in her breast. The patient had cancer and later needed surgery.

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