Troubled doctor says he's unfairly shunned

By John O'Brien | Apr 27, 2006

CHARLESTON - A doctor accused of inappropriate sexual behavior almost 10 years ago is suing two men he feels are blocking his reappointment to Welch Community Hospital.

Rahmet Muzaffer filed the lawsuit April 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court against John E. Bianconi, the Acting Commissioner of the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, and Walter Garrett, the Chief Executive Officer of Welch Community Hospital.

The state Board of Medicine had Muzaffer's medical license put on probation for two years in 1997 because of accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior toward three women.

It was found that Muzaffer masturbated in an examination room, though the then-15-year-old girl involved denied Muzaffer did it in her presence.

Since completing each step needed to gain his license back, Muzaffer has worked as a pediatrician. On Jan. 27, a hearing was held concerning his admittance to the medical staff at Welch Community.

He claims that Bianconi and Garrett made sure his application would be denied.

The complaint alleges that Garrett "did not feel that Dr. Muzaffer had been candid with his applications, his ethics were not up to the hospital's standard, there was a possibility of re-offending workers at the hospital that were there when the previous incidents happened."

Muzaffer also claims he wasn't given a fair hearing. He says hearsay was allowed as evidence.

"They allow inadmissible evidence to be entered into and made part of the record that would not be admissible in a court of law in West Virginia," the complaint says.

The complaint was filed by attorney Kenneth E. Chittum. He says Muzaffer's problems are in the past.

"Muzaffer had practiced as a pediatrician without patient complaint or litigation since 1995, that historical and clinic data do not at this time support a diagnosis of a psychiatric or sexual disorder which would predispose Dr. Muzaffer to inappropriate sexual behavior with patients or families," the complaint says.

"Clearly, the Review Panel is basing its decision on events that happened over nine years ago and on evidence that was not before the Hearing Examiner and not provided in Discovery to Dr. Muzaffer or his counsel."

Muzaffer charges the defendants with: Tortious interference with business relationships; due process violation/failure to provide a fair hearing; and breach of covenants of good faith and fair dealing.

He is seeking compensatory, incidental, consequential and punitive damages. Judge Louis Bloom has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-742

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