RICHMOND – A bill on its way to passing the General Assembly would bench for a longer period physicians who engage in inappropriate sexual conduct with their patients.
SB898 says the Board of Medicine must wait five years before considering reinstating the license of any doctor who took advantage of the practitioner-patient relationship to coerce sexual contact or acted in a lewd or offensive manner. Right now, a doctor may apply to get his or her license back after three years.
The measure – “Twomey’s bill” – is named for Debra Twomey, a retired police detective from Louisa County who said she has suffered from flashbacks and nightmares ever since a doctor who had victimized other patients also took sexual advantage of her. She said the measure would better deter predatory behavior.
“I can’t imagine what these women went through … for me it changed my world,” Twomey told the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee this morning. “If this was your family or close friend, would you not want the maximum punishment possible?”
The committee unanimously approved the bill, which will now go to the full House for a vote. The Senate passed it unanimously last week, with support from the Medical Society of Virginia.
-Kathy Adams, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot