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WINCHESTER – In the same week that a formal complaint against embattled Congressman Scott DesJarlais was filed with the Tennessee State Board of Medical Examiners, Dr. DesJarlais desperately launched TV ads attacking his opponent, Eric Stewart, on the relationships between doctors and patients.
“Voters are learning that there is absolutely no limit to the hypocrisy of Congressman DesJarlais,” said Kevin Teets, Eric Stewart’s campaign manager. “The only thing that’s able to top the 2010 hypocrisy of Dr. DesJarlais is the 2012 hypocrisy of Congressman DesJarlais.”
In the past two weeks, voters learned of court records revealing that Dr. DesJarlais had four affairs, and following the revelation, that he admitted to sleeping with his own patient, then having a phone conversation with her to convince her to have an abortion.
On Oct. 10, Huffington Post broke the story that DesJarlais had recorded a phone conversation with his mistress, a patient, in which he pressured her to have an abortion. Local and national news quickly picked up the story, which DesJarlais still hasn’t denied.
On Oct. 15, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced that it had filed a complaint with the Tennessee Dept. of Health due to DesJarlais’ affair with a patient.
A recent Murfreesboro Daily News Journal editorial decried Dr. DesJarlais’ hypocrisy, saying, “DesJarlais must take the voters of the 4th Congressional District for fools if he thinks they believe his explanation, because at this point, his credibility is gone … If he is capable of such bizarre behavior in his personal life, we question whether he is capable of serving with honor in Congress. Will he go off the deep end there?”
Both professional medical ethics and Tennessee state law prohibit medical professionals from having sexual relationships with their patients. According to the Tennessee State Board of Medical Examiners’ Sexual Misconduct Statement and Policy, “sexual contact with a patient is misconduct and is considered to be a violation of T.C.A. Section 63-6-214(b)(1),” which prohibits unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct. The policy continues:
“The prohibition against sexual contact between a physician and a patient is well established and is embodied in the oath taken by all physicians, the Hippocratic Oath. The reason for this proscription is the awareness of the adverse effects of such conduct on patients. The report of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association indicates that most researchers now agree that the effects of physician-patient sexual contact are almost always negative or damaging to the patient. Patients are often left feeling humiliated, mistreated, or exploited.
“Further, a patient has a right to trust and believe that a physician is dedicated solely to the patient’s best interests. Introduction of sexual behavior into the professional relationship violates this trust because the physician’s own personal interests compete with the interests of the patient. This violation of trust produces not only serious negative psychological consequences for the individual patient but also destroys the trust of the public in the profession.”
Research by The Chattanooga Times Free Press showed that at least five Tennessee physicians have been disciplined for having consensual sexual relationships with patients since mid-2005.
TRANSCRIPT OF DESJARLAIS TV AD
[DesJarlais] I’m Scott DesJarlais, and I approve this message.
Great. A word used to describe a quiet morning of fishing, a Vols win, a plate of barbecue.
But “great” is how Eric Stewart describes Obamacare. Bureacrats between patient and doctor.
Great. $700 billion in Medicare cuts.
Great. A massive new tax on the middle class.
There are lots of great things in Tennessee, but Eric Stewart’s support of Obama and Obamacare is not one of them.
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