Movie script leads to Camarillo doctor remaining on probation

A Camarillo doctor's bid to end a probation handed down by the state medical board was turned down, partly because of a movie script project that allegedly told of the physician's sexual relationship with a patient.

Dr. Stuart Fischbein, an obstetrician-gynecologist, was placed on seven years probation by the Medical Board of California in 2007 for the relationship with the patient. In a misdemeanor case involving the same relationship, he was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court of sexually exploiting a patient.

About two years after the Medical Board action, Fischbein asked for an early end to his probation. The board turned down the request in April, citing a decision proposed by Administrative Law Judge Eric Sawyer after a January hearing in Los Angeles.

In his decision, Sawyer said the doctor complied with all the terms of probation including completing three programs on boundaries and ethics and using a third-party chaperone when seeing female patients.

Fischbein, who has offices in Camarillo and Century City, provided letters of support from doctors and a psychotherapist. According to findings presented in the Medical Board ruling, he contended the probation hurt his practice, causing health care plans to terminate him from being in their networks.

But Sawyer said he wasn't convinced the doctor was fully rehabilitated. He cited Fischbein's application to end probation at the earliest opportunity and said the doctor chafed at the chaperone requirement.

And the judge cited a script project about a doctor-patient relationship. In his decision, Sawyer said it showed "a lack of good judgment given the timing." He noted Fischbein still harbors bad feelings about what has happened to him, suggesting "he does not fully believe he engaged in misconduct."

According to the findings in the Medical Board ruling, Fischbein began working with a screenwriter friend on a project in 2007 that later became a script called "Bedside Man."

The cover of the script states it is based on a true story and credited the story to Fischbein, according to the Medical Board document. It also said a trailer for the project was placed on the Internet but Fischbein later removed it.

Fischbein didn't return email or phone messages. His lawyer, Peter Osinoff, declined to comment except to say that his client has the right to appeal the ruling but has not done so.

Asked about the movie, Osinoff had little to say.

"I don't want to speak on something I know nothing about," he said.

© 2011 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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