Dr. Stuart Fischbein: Bedside Man

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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…

  • Student

    In the fall of 1990, I was a student at USC and was referred to Dr. Fischbein by the doctor at the USC health center. In light of the news that has developed in the last few days regarding the staff gynecologist at USC, I began to wonder if Dr. Fischbein was still practicing and was not shocked to read other patients creepy experiences with him.
    During my first visit with Dr. Fischbein, I was accompanied by my boyfriend. I remember being very impressed with how large and beautifully decorated the reception area was, along with the massive fish tank. It made me feel like this doctor must be good if he has this nice of an office along with the fact that he was referred by the doctor at the USC health center.
    At the second appointment, I was alone, I again recall being impressed when he asked for a nurse to be in the room, while he examined me. I had never been to a doctor who took these steps to make me feel comfortable. Again, I thought, what a great doctor! It wasn’t until he was performing a breast exam, did things start to get uncomfortable. He used his finger to scratch/draw on my chest. He then said, “you have dry skin.” I didn’t respond. He then said, “look, see, I drew a heart on your chest and you can still see it.” I glanced at my chest and then glanced at the nurse and she looked down at the charts to avoid eye contact with me. He then performed a vaginal exam using his fingers. At the time, I did not know what was normal and what was not, but given the fact that there was a nurse in the room, I went with the assumption that this was all normal. Once, he finished the exam, he told me to get dressed and then to meet him in his office to discuss the results of the exam. When I sat in his office, he closed the door and then proceeded to tell me about his ranch and what a beautiful piece of property it was. He went on and on about his beautiful horses and said I could come and ride if I wanted to. After, I told him, I didn’t ride horses, he said I should still come to see the property and the horses. I wasn’t sure if he was really friendly or if he was hitting on me. I felt bad rejecting his invitation, so I sort of shrugged and said maybe. After this 10 minute discussion, I finally asked him, what were the results of the exam and he said everything looked great. I left leaving it up in the air with him, telling him maybe I would go see his property sometime. As I was leaving the office, I took notice that the grandiose reception area was empty and thought to myself, how could be so successful with no other patients? I never went back and have always wondered if he was still practicing and hitting on other patients. Perhaps, it was just me.
    After reading about other patient’s experience with Dr. Fischbein, I am glad I listened to my hunch that he didn’t invite me just because he was a nice guy. I imagine there are many more victims, I hope they too come forward to warn others.