NEW: RI Doc Suspended for Fondling Elderly Patient

Friday, August 03, 2012


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A Rhode Island physician has been suspended by the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline for fondling a then-70-year-old patient, according to the RI Department of Health (HEALTH).

Steven R. Pezzullo, MD, a 62-year-old licensed physician in RI whose principal place of business is Pawtuxet Valley Urgent Care in Coventry, RI, was reported to the Board by the above patient for his alleged conduct during a physical examination at the urgent care center.

The written complaint "vividly described" an exam conducted by Dr. Pezzullo at the Pawtuxet Valley Urgent Care Center for "symptoms relating to either bronchitis or pneumonia," according to HEALTH.

According to the patient's written complaint, Dr. Pezzullo asked her to lie down and then he "started to examine my breast over and over" and "started to move his hands lower and lower pulling my slacks down as he moved toward my private (area)." While this allegedly was occurring, the patent stated she put pressure on her pants to stop Dr. Pezzullo from lowering her pants any farther, then he left the room.

She further alleged that the examination was unnecessary because a chest x-ray had already been taken and had revealed the cause of her symptoms.

Dr. Pezzullo told the Investigating Committee that no one had ever made a complaint of this nature in the past, despite an investigation into his alleged seuxally inappropriate touching of a female patient that led to a finding of No Unprofessional Conduct by the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline in 1996. When confronted with this, even though he was "cleared," Dr. Pezzullo admitted that there had been similar allegations in the past.

The Committee voted to find that Dr. Pezzullo had committed Unprofessional Conduct and referred the matter to the full Board, which determined that Dr. Pezzullo's further practice of medicine would constitute an immediate danger to the public. His license to practice medicine is suspended until further notice.


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