Mobile orthopedic surgeon surrenders medical license amid sexual misconduct allegations

Orthopaedic surgeon surrenders license amid misconduct allegation (WPMI)

For more than three decades, Thomas Dempsey practiced orthopedic medicine, but in June, the state suspended his medical license. According to the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners administrative complaint obtained by NBC 15 News, Dempsey had "special patients," who were taken to a room Dempsey could lock at his office and told to undress so he could massage them with grapeseed oil. These patients, the complaint says, were prescribed high doses of narcotics, higher doses than other patients.

"Exchanging sex for drugs is not uncommon, unfortunately. Overprescribing happens for a lot of different reasons, and that is one of them," said Wilson Hunter, General Counsel for the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.

Dempsey’s attorney says Dempsey denies all of the allegations.

According to the medical board complaint, one woman, identified as "patient one," was asked to remove her underwear on at least one occasion and Dempsey proceeded to touch her inappropriately and expose himself. She told investigators the "routine inappropriate touching" was "escalating" and "becoming more aggressive,” the complaint states.

"We identified a threat and acted as swiftly as we could to remove it," said Wilson. "The board's position on sexual conduct between physicians and patients is just a zero tolerance. There’s just no instance in which that would be appropriate no matter if they were able to give consent or not because it violates the patient physician trust relationship."

The complaint also states the government was investigating Dempsey's "overprescribing of controlled substances" this summer and says, according to a witness, he ordered unnecessary medical tests for "the purpose of collecting more money."

A month after Dempsey was suspended, he surrendered his medical license.

"In this case, Dr. Dempsey has signed a contract with the board of medical examiners never to attempt to re-instate his license. Dr. Dempsey will not practice in Alabama again," said Wilson.

No criminal charges have been filed against Dempsey. Dempsey's attorney, James Newman, says his client flatly denies all of these allegations from the medical board. The lawyer says Dempsey, who is 72, was planning on retiring anyway and did not want to go through the time and expense of fighting the board and decided to instead surrender his medical license.

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