Patient sex gets doctor disciplined

yamaro@mercedsun-star.comOctober 9, 2012 

A doctor at the Castle Family Health Centers in Atwater has been disciplined by the Medical Board of California for becoming involved in a sexual relationship with a patient in Fresno in 2007.

Dr. Rodrigo DeZubiria, 57, who has been with Castle for about five years, has been placed on five years' probation and suspended from practicing medicine for 60 days. His suspension had to be effective 16 days after the decision was made by the board on Sept. 7.

As part of his probation, De-Zubiria will be required to have a third-party chaperone when he examines female patients, and his charts will have to be reviewed by an independent physician on a quarterly basis.

In addition, he must attend medical education classes and cannot supervise physician assistants.

According to documents, DeZubiria's sexual conduct, "is unprofessional conduct and provides grounds for disciplinary action against his medical license."

Having a sexual relationship with a patient constitutes gross negligence, according to documents. The fact that DeZubiria had sex with the patient more than once means he committed acts of repeated negligence in the care and treatment of a patient, according to documents.

Reported by patient

At the time of the incident, DeZubiria worked with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Fresno.

He and his patient engaged in sex several times before the patient, identified only as "J.W-H.," reported her relationship with DeZubiria to Kaiser Member Services, according to documents.

DeZubiria admitted having a sexual relationship with the patient soon afterward and resigned from Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, documents say.

DeZubiria on Monday said he had a "social relationship," which was completely outside of work. He said he saw the woman twice as before she transferred to another doctor.

He said the incident goes back several years, and he's doing everything he's being asked to do by the medical board to get things cleared up.

"I'm trying to work through it," he said.

DeZubiria said he sees many patients and has never had a complaint of any kind. "I'm hoping that I can continue to provide the same care that I have provided for the past five years," he said.

Peter Mojarras, director of operations at Castle, said DeZubiria is taking some time off. His vacation began Sept. 24, and he's expected to return at the end of November, which is about the time his suspension ends.

"We do have acknowledgment of the action that has been taken by the medical board," Mojarras said. "We continue to maintain an employment relationship (with DeZubiria). We completely support him and look forward to his return to providing the quality medical services that he has been doing for many years."

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsun-star.com.