Doctor’s license suspended after allegedly sexting during surgeries and sending semi-nude selfies
A Seattle physician licensed in Washington state since 1995, is facing serious and alarming charges by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). As reported by The Huffington Post, the DOH's statement of charges against Dr. Arthur K. Zilberstein, includes in part, putting “patients at unreasonable risk of harm” and having “frequently exchanged personal and often sexually explicit text messages while on duty from at least April through August 2013.” Zilberstein is also accused of improperly prescribing medication and sending selfies with his genitals exposed. His medical license and privileges at Swedish Medical Center, where he worked, are now suspended.
KOMO 4 News reports that while Zilberstein was the responsible anesthesiologist during surgeries such as labor epidurals, incision and drainage, spinal procedures, and cesarean deliveries, he sent multiple sexts. One case described in the 17-page statement of charges describes an August 6, 2013 surgery where the doctor “exchanged forty-five text messages with sexual innuendo, between 11:55 a.m. and 1:19 p.m.” In another instance, Dr. Zilberstein was serving as the anesthesiologist for a cesarean delivery when he sent a text reading, “I’m hella busy with C sections.”
Additionally, Dr. Zilberstein is accused of engaging in sexual encounters with a “Patient Z” at the hospital during a time period that he also served as her physician and prescribed her medications. Zilberstein is also accused of improperly accessing Patient Z’s medical records from another clinic to view images of the patient for his own sexual gratification, rather than for medical purposes. The DOH document also notes that on three dates Zilberstein, “demonstrated moral turpitude which lessens the reputation of the medical profession in the eyes of the community by sending color ‘selfies’ to Patient Z depicting himself in hospital scrubs, wearing his hospital badge, and exposing his genitals. Respondent accompanied these images with sexual innuendo commentary.” In one comment he wrote, “Oh. And my partner walked in as I was pulling up my scrubs. I’m pretty sure he caught me.” The statement noted that Zilberstein misinformed the Commission investigating the allegations, claiming to have a different work schedule than surgical records reflected.
The Washington State DOH found that Dr. Zilberstein prescribed drugs, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Ritalin, at least 29 times without using proper procedures such as giving diagnoses, treatment plans, keeping medical records or charting patient history.
In addition to all of that the doctor was found to display “a disrespectful and racist attitude towards a patient” in a text exchange.
Dr. Zilberstein had no comment when KOMO 4 News reached out to him, only saying, “Sorry, I can’t really talk right now. I appreciate you guys. I understand you want to hear.”
Zilberstein now has 20 days to respond to the charges, which are dated June 3, 2014, and request a hearing. His license will remain suspended until the charges are resolved.
According to NBC News, Zilberstein was contracted by Physicians Anesthesia Services and worked at the Swedish Medical Center. The Swedish Medical Center released this statement:
"The safety of our patients is our number one priority. Once we learned that the State had suspended this physician's medical license, the physician's Medical Staff membership and privileges were immediately suspended. We just recently learned of these allegations and are conducting our own internal review of the physician, who is not directly employed by Swedish."
Video and more info: The Huffington Post, Washington State Department of Health, KOMO, NBC News