< Truth / Justice / Patient Safety >

Dr. Shafik Ahmad

One of the former patients of Dr. Shafik Ahmad had written to me from time to time. She told me about women going to the police and to the state medical board about him. In the end she sent a note with a link to a newspaper article about him. In her note she said, "Is 13 the magic number?" since the state medical board finally was saying they were going to take action. She questioned whether even that would have been enough if the police had not arrested him first.

The state medical board of Ohio has a history of responding to problem caregivers only after other agencies have found them guilty, like with Dr. James Burt and Dr.Arthur Richard Schramm. The woman writing to me wondered if what really finally moved them to act was the press coverage. She wrote, "Was 13 the magic number? Or striking before the media calls them out for not acting sooner?" That would be consistent with their history.

The police were holding him in jail on a conspiracy to commit murder charge for a murder plot targeting his former wife.

We don't want to take away a physician's license on the basis of mere allegations. But do patients really have to wait until organizations that lobby for physicians have been put in a position where they cannot protect their own any longer and finally have to relent and protect a patient?

The physician's patients had been filing complaints alleging inappropriate sexual comments and touching. He was sued by at least one person and had to pay $30,000 in damages and fees. The patient writing to me said she was listed with the state medical board as Anonymous Patient #11. Now were 13 complaints filed against him and he was in jail and yet the state medical board still had not taken any action that could protect patients from him. They did announce that they intended to pursue disciplinary actions. Ohio's Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Ahmad in October 2009 for plotting to murder his former wife. Now it was five months later, March 2010, and the state medical board was announcing the "intention" to pursue disciplinary actions.

Patients need more timely protection than that. They need someone actually on their side. With or without it, they need to be allowed to be on each others' sides without getting sued for warning each other.

Isn't it interesting that this happened in the same community as Dr. James Burt and Dr.Arthur Richard Schramm? How is it this community manages to get these things out in the open, even if it takes 20 years, and other communities don't?