CBJ - May 2012 #07. Sex with patients leads to disbarment for lawyer-dentist.


California Bar Journal


CBJ - May 2012 #07.

Sex with patients leads to disbarment for lawyer-dentist

The California LawyerMay 2012Sex with patients leads to disbarment for lawyer-dentistA dentist whose license was revoked for having sex with his patients has now lost his law license as well. CRAIG DOUGLAS FOSTER [#179488], 61, of Haleiwa, Hawaii, was disbarred Feb. 4, 2012, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Foster was a practicing dentist from 1975-2000, specializing in treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). He routinely prescribed narcotic medications for pain relief, sleep and muscle relaxation and injected narcotic medications for pain relief during therapy appointments. State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz said in her ruling that the nature of Foster's practice cultivated intimacy and dependency. Foster's dental license was revoked in 2000 as a result of sexual liaisons with his drug-dependent patients. He repealed the revocation, which was upheld by the Sacramento County Superior Court.

The State Bar proceedings focused on four female patients treated between 1993-1998. Armendariz found that Foster induced two patients to enter in a sexual relationship with him while they "were vulnerable due to being heavily medicated and suffering from depression and chronic pain." He falsely documented procedures performed on those patients. His conduct amounted to moral turpitude, the court found.

In addition, he violated the law by making misleading statements and advertisements, having sex with patients, using the term "doctor" without indication of a certificate and engaging in unprofessional conduct.

About 80 percent of Foster's patients were women and his practice focused on stress reduction. Appointments typically lasted one to two hours and during therapy, Foster often massaged and manipulated the muscles of the patients' jaw, shoulders, upper back and upper chest. He did not have a physical therapist on staff. Patients were generally alone with Foster during treatment, and he often discussed their marriages, relationships, business and family stresses during appointments.

One of Foster's patients became addicted to Vicodin and Dalmane while under his care. Some of his actions violated the standard of care. Although the patient had taken nothing stronger than...

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