Dr. Stuart Fischbein: Bedside Man

I first wrote about Dr. Stuart Fischbein two years ago (Can you still be “Dr. Wonderful” after conviction for sexual exploitation of a patient?):

You might think that such a doctor would be a pariah among patients, especially after a conviction, and the decision by the California Board of Medicine to place him on probation for 7 years, but you’d be wrong about this doctor. He is currently soliciting donations from patients and supporters for his latest legal woes … and women are proudly giving money.

Recently, Dr. Fischbein petitioned the California Board of Medicine for early termination of his 7 year probation. You can read the 6 page opinion denying his request here. The board was unimpressed with Dr. Fischbein’s request for a variety of reasons detailed in the report. However, most compelling to them was the fact that Dr. Fischbein has attempted to make a movie promoting “his side” of events, and portraying himself as a victim.

12. In the Fall of 2007, after Petitioner was placed on probation by the Board, he began working with a screenwriter friend on a … a script entitled “Bedside Man.” By this time. Petitioner had already completed the PACE Professional Boundaries program. The cover of the script states it is “based on a true story,” and credits “Story by Stuart Fischbein.” A promotional trailer was later made, in which Petitioner was also involved and credited… Although fictional names are used in the story, the script and trailer are obviously based on Petitioner’s version of events. [They] tend to minimize Petitioner’s culpability, make him look more like a victim and his victim less of one, and depict Petitioner as being persecuted for his views on some aspects of medicine.

13. In an effort to promote “Bedside Man” for financial investment to make a full length movie, the trailer was made accessible over the internet. One hospital where Petitioner was affiliated found out about it and contacted Petitioner’s psychotherapist… From her letter detailing the events, it appears that [she] was readily able to see the impropriety of the project while Petitioner had not. She told him that the project “did not represent him as a man who had made a terrible error in judgment.” [The psychotherapist] persuaded Petitioner that the project was an error and for the trailer to be removed from the internet. Petitioner has done so.

The Board did not terminate the probation, writing:

[He] views probation as punishment and an inconvenience… Although he no doubt has encountered difficulties practicing while on probation, he still tends to overstate those difficulties. He has openly chaffed at the requirement that he have a third party chaperone during interactions with female patients. It is clear that once off probation, the chaperone requirement would quickly disappear from his practice as the lessons learned from these events fade and the inconvenience grows…

The report concludes:

More alarming was Petitioner’s participation in the movie script and trailer. This activity shows that Petitioner still harbors bad feelings about what happened to him, suggesting that he does not fully believe he engaged in misconduct… Such a state of mind does not bode well for the proposition of removing Petitioner completely from the Board’s probationary oversight. In all, these events demonstrate sufficient concern over the course of Petitioner’s rehabilitation as to indicate that continuing probation with all terms should continue in order to protect the public…