by: MIchael Yoshida, Action News Jax Updated:
Action News Jax is taking a closer look at how allegations made against area doctors, nurses and other medical professions are investigated and then made public by the state.
This comes after a prominent local doctor had an emergency restriction placed on his license this week based on an alleged incident last year.
The State Department of Health has issued an emergency restriction on Dr. Michael Haghighi's license. The doctor is accused of sexual misconduct with a patient -- a 26-year-old woman -- in October 2016. The doctor does not face any criminal charges.
"100 percent dispute the allegations," Sean Sheppard, Haghighi's attorney, said.
Sheppard said his client is cooperating and has volunteered to be interviewed by the state.
Sheppard also said he wishes the state conducted an investigation and hearing before the allegations were put on its put on its public database.
"From reading it, it sounds like there’s actually been findings of fact made when actually there’s not, there’s been no determination by any judge or hearing officer of the facts in that order," Sheppard said.
Action News Jax reached out to the Florida Department of Health about their complaint process. We were sent a flow chart. It’s a little complicated, but it shows after a complaint is made, it takes several steps to get to the investigation. During this process, if the state decides to take action to suspend or restrict a license, the details are made public as a matter of public safety, even though the orders are not final and the doctor is still entitled to a hearing.
"We’re not by any means saying that allegations of this kind shouldn’t be investigated … Absolutely they should but before the damage is done by putting a statement out in the public domain there should actually be a hearing of some kind where both sides are provided an opportunity to present a case," Sheppard said.
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