A doctor in Seattle learned the hard way that sexting during surgeries, or at all, is just not the best or brightest idea. 47-year-old doctor Arthur Zilberstein has been accused of sending inappropriate messages and images to miscellaneous women while practicing medicine. The accusations of sexual misconduct are a direct violation of patient safety and have gotten the doctor suspended by Washington state officials.
What was once regarded as just a problem with youth that an after-school special could fix, sexting has become a growing problem for high-profiled officials. Surgeon and anesthesiologist Albert Zilberstein is the most recent publicized victim of the sexting-craze. According to legal documents, the doctor has been accused by a former patient and fellow physician of exchanging sexually explicit information while performing cesareans, administering epidurals, an appendectomy, and more. It was also recorded that the doctor would send up to 45 explicit texts during a routine day in the hospital.
As the state officials investigated more, they discovered the doctor was also gaining access to female patients medical records for more than just routine diagnostics. The promiscuous physician would allegedly access patients’ visual records for sexual gratification.
Although just being brought to public attention, sexting on the job is something that lead to suspension and has been prevalent in the physician’s career from April to August 2013. Zilberstein worked at Swedish Medical Center and was accused of taking color self-images of himself in his scrubs and badge with his genitals exposed. According to one of the doctor’s texts uncovered by the medical board, a similar full-frontal selfie almost got him caught by his medical partner.
As the investigation continues, more information from Zilberstein’s text messages show that he was no stranger to abusing his privileges as a high-profiled doctor within the hospital. Officials reported that Zilberstein prescribed up to 29 medicinal drugs without proper records or justification. One text exchange between the physician and alleged female affiliate had the doctor suggesting that the woman come meet him at work one late night and park in the doctor’s lot to avoid paying for parking. The text messages continued to reveal more details of the liaison. Zilberstein further suggested that the woman have sexual relations with him in the doctor’s lounge or hospital call room. It seems that a black-light was not needed to further investigate the facts, when the sexting messages were enough to get the doctor suspended.
Although the accusations and alleged violations of sexting during surgery and hospital misconduct did not directly harm any of Zilberstein’s patients, the blatant misuse of patient information brings shame to the organization and could possibly put others in harm’s way. Those that stepped up to file a complaint against the doctor may have felt that he was going too far. The doctor could not be reached to give further commentary and the board does not know if he has taken on a lawyer. For now, the doctor’s license has been suspended as the state officials continue to delve deeper into the accusations.
By Tyler Cole