State targets doctors’ licenses
BY JANET LUNDQUIST email@example.com May 21, 2013 9:20PM
Dr. Kishor Jain walks outside the Will County Courthouse Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 23, 2013 6:03AM
It was shocking news in January when a woman sued a Frankfort doctor, accusing him of fondling her in an exam room.
Kishor Nathmal Jain had provided medical care for children and adults in Frankfort, starting in 1980 at Hedges Clinic.
Jain, 59, graduated from Grant Medical College in Bombay, India, in 1976 and was licensed to practice in Illinois in 1978. He completed a residency in pediatrics in 1980 at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago and was board certified in pediatrics in 1981.
Then, more than 20 years later, came a series of lawsuits and criminal charges.
In 2002, a woman told police that when she brought her infant in for a checkup in December 2001 Jain touched her breasts and tried to put his hand down her pants while asking her about sex positions.
A Will County judge acquitted Jain of a misdemeanor battery charge, finding that the touching was part of a legitimate medical exam. Despite the acquittal, the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation in 2006 reprimanded Jain for the incident, requiring him to complete 20 hours of continuing education in record-keeping, case management and medical boundary issues.
Two other women filed lawsuits against Jain in 2002, alleging he fondled them during office visits, and the cases were settled out of court years later.
But Jain bounced back from the turmoil. He continued his practice at Hedges Clinic and served as chairman of pediatrics at Silver Cross Hospital from 2005 to 2007.
Then, in January, another woman, who had filed a complaint with police two years earlier, filed suit against Jain. Other women followed, until five lawsuits were pending, all alleging the same type of sexual abuse by Jain and also leading to criminal charges against him.
Jain, of 767 Tanglewood Lane in Frankfort, faces 10 counts of sex abuse, five counts of battery and one count of sex assault in addition to the lawsuits. He no longer works at Hedges Clinic, which is named in the lawsuits as well.
Jain has pleaded not guilty to the charges and he is scheduled to be in court Wednesday.
Cases against other doctors
Jain is hardly the first doctor in Cook and Will counties to be accused of sexually assaulting a patient.
Ricardo Arze was found guilty a year ago of sexually assaulting a 48-year-old female patient during an examination in 2007 in his Berwyn office. Arze, 59, was sentenced to 13 years in prison, according to county prosecutors.
They said the woman came to Arze’s medical office in the 6900 block of Cermak Road for a follow-up visit after an illness and to get a note saying she could return to work. Arze told her he would examine her lungs but had her lay back on a table and sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.
They said the victim did not report the incident until after Arze had been charged with three similar attacks. The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation lists Arze’s medical license as suspended as of December 2010.
Rajat Prakash, who worked at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, has been charged with criminal sexual abuse for allegedly attacking a patient he had lured into his car. Prakash’s license was suspended in February.
In July 2011, a state law went into effect, requiring the Department of Professional Regulation to permanently revoke the medical license of any doctor convicted of a crime that required him or her to register as a sex offender.
The law also applies to a doctor convicted of a battery against a patient in the course of patient care, including sex assault, or convicted of a forcible felony with a patient. In the three months after the law took effect, the IDPR revoked the licenses of 16 physicians, but it could not say how many of those involved patient assaults.
IDPR did confirm that over the last 10 years, it has revoked the licenses of at least four doctors who were convicted of a crime against a patient in the course of care:
Angelo Consiglio — formerly a Carol Stream ear, nose and throat specialist — pleaded guilty in 2005 to groping a patient’s breast while treating her for a sinus problem. Consiglio also made a “lewd remark” to the 30-year-old patient during the January 2004 office visit and later was secretly recorded during two phone calls talking about the incident with the woman, authorities said. His license was revoked in April 2012.
A Ventura County, Calif., jury convicted Barry Lefkovitch, a former family practice physician, of sexually abusing three patients, according to published reports. His license to practice in Illinois was revoked in December.
Evan K. Saunders, formerly a gynecologist in Wisconsin, was found guilty in October of assaulting four patients during exams. His Illinois medical license was suspended in February.
In March, the state revoked the license for Omar Jaraki, a South Carolina cardiologist who was accused of fondling female patients during exams, according to reports. He was indicted on seven counts of assault and battery but pleaded guilty in May 2010 to misdemeanor battery in a deal with prosecutors.
Coming forward difficult
It’s often difficult for a patient to speak out about sexual abuse committed by a doctor, said sexual assault counselors at Guardian Angel Community Services in Joliet.
For one thing, it’s not an easy topic to discuss, Ines Kutlesa, the agency’s chief executive, said.
“It’s embarrassing,” she said, adding patients likely second-guess themselves, wondering whether their doctor, whom they trust, intended to cross the line.
“Doctors … are some of the few people in the world we allow to touch us,” said Donna Plier, program manager for Guardian Angel’s Sexual Assault Services Center. “It’s one thing if the plumber tries to grab you. But it’s another thing when it’s your doctor, who is supposed to be in that safe category. You also see a lot of problems with people thinking, ‘Did that really happen? Did I perceive that right?’ ”
Because patients share intimate details with doctors, they grow to trust them, which makes it more likely to believe the best about them, Plier said.
Guardian Angel’s Sexual Assault Services Center has a 24-hour hotline, 815-730-8984.