Doctors, Beware of Being Caught DUI

A physician may or may not have their license to practice medicine affected following a DUI. According to the California Medical Board, the circumstances of the arrest, as well as the charges themselves, in addition to other circumstances are all taken into consideration following a DUI charge or conviction. The physician themselves are required to report to the Medical Board any pending felony charges and are also required to report misdemeanor convictions. In one case, patients of a California neurologist are upset that he continued to practice after a DUI conviction, as NBC San Diego reports.

Rex Rhoten, a San Diego neurosurgeon formerly employed with Kaiser Permanente, was convicted of DUI back on May 18, 2016. At the time he was charged, his blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit. He was reportedly on his way to work when the arrest was made in February of 2016.

Rhoten’s patients say that they were unaware that their doctor had been convicted of DUI until the California Attorney General filed a complaint with the Medical Board last September. The complaint asks that the board revoke Rhoten’s license.

However, the incident was not reported to the medical board until nearly a year and a half after the incident. When and who reported the incident to the medical board is a matter of the investigation and is not publicly available.

In the wake of the charges and the conviction, Kaiser Permanente stated that Rhoten was receiving treatment. They also stated that he resigned from his position with the medical offices in June of 2017, shortly after his conviction.

One of Rhoten’s patents, on whom he operated just a month after the DUI conviction, said that she was never made aware of the conviction by Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Rhoten, nor any of the staff.

Although Rhoten is serving five years probation, his medical license is still in good standing. This may change pending a hearing in February 2018, when he is scheduled to appear before an administrative judge to determine whether his license should be revoked.

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