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Ohio Gynecologist Suspended, Fined for Alleged Drug Abuse and Sexual Misconduct

Dr. Joseph Michael Franzese, an Ohio OB-GYN was recently suspended and fined over allegations of sexual misconduct and drug abuse.

A gynecologist in Oakley, Ohio is no longer allowed to practice medicine for at least two years after he was suspended and fined $18,000, according to the Medical Board of Ohio. The complaint states:

“Dr. Joseph Michael Franzese prescribed oxycodone to a patient in 2017 without an examination or documenting the prescription, then shared the pills with her, and entered into a sexual relationship with her before ending their doctor-patient relationship.”

Various pills of different colors; image by freestocks.org, via unsplash.com.

To make matters worse, back in 2018, Franzese “asked a patient to share some of the Percocet he had just prescribed to her.” Eventually, Franzese admitted he was guilty of both of the incidents, according to the board. The board further noted that, since December 2018, “Franzese has operated his own practices, but the alleged incidents occurred while working at another doctor’s practice.”

When appearing before the state board to share his testimony, Franzese said he “had not been out of his residency long and has since learned how serious these matters are.” The board further noted that Franzese “told another patient to ask a man on a dating app for pictures of his genitals.” Franzese pushed back against those allegations and said the “topic came up in conversation, but he never directed the woman to do anything.” However, the board failed to find his excuse credible and wrote:

“Dr. Franzese has exhibited a pattern of misconduct…Asking patients for controlled substances or even accepting controlled substances is not only bad practice, it is a crime… Dr. Franzese committed these criminal acts, not due to any substance use disorder, but because it was convenient for him.”

The board further noted that while Franzese was working at the other practice at the time of the incidents, the main physician “told him to seek counseling with the first six months of his employment” due to his disruptive behavior. At a hearing, the board said, “Dr. Franzese stated at hearing that it was difficult for him being the only man in an office of women, which seems like an odd sentiment for a gynecologist to express.” The board added that since learning of the allegations against him, Franzese “has done little to remediate the problem.” It said, “It is possible that Dr. Franzese has seen the error of his ways and truly wishes to reform his behavior.”

On top of the fine and his suspension, “Franzese will permanently have to have a chaperone monitor his prescriptions and orders for any Schedule II controlled substances such as oxycodone,” according to the board. When he is permitted to practice medicine again, he will also have to undergo a three-year probationary period and will have to “complete a variety of courses on professional behavior, ethics and the prescription of controlled substances.”

Sources:

Oakley OB-GYN suspended after sharing drugs with patients, sexual misconduct

Oakley OB/GYN suspended after being accused of sexual misconduct, drug abuse

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