Charges: Seattle doctor was sexting during surgery

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:


Quick Facts: 

  • Seattle physician was sexting during surgeries, officials say.
  • That physician, Arthur K. Zilberstein, had his license suspended.
  • He was involved with procedures at Swedish Medical Center.
  • Charges also say he had sexual relations with a patient.

A Seattle physician whom a report says “exchanged sexually explicit texts during surgeries when he was the responsible anesthesiologist” has had his license suspended.

Arthur K. Zilberstein “compromised patient safety due to his preoccupation with sexual matters while he was on hospital duty between at least April and August 2013,” according to a Medical Quality Assurance Commission statement.

At his house in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood Monday night, Dr. Zilberstein didn’t have much to say. “I can't really talk right now.  I appreciate you guys, I understand you want,” said a flustered Zilberstein as he closed the garage door.

He works for Physicians Anesthesia Services in Seattle, and patients who had a procedure at Swedish could have had him as an anesthesiologist.

The Swedish website shows Zilberstein was affiliated with the Cherry Hill and First Hill campuses. His license was suspended by the commission.

Zilberstein also improperly accessed medical-record imaging for sexual gratification and had sexual encounters at his workplace, a commission report said.

Zilberstein issued at least 29 unauthorized prescriptions for controlled substances and legend drugs outside of his medical practice and didn’t conduct proper evaluations, diagnoses or treatment plans for these patients, according to charges by the Medical Quality Assurance Commission.

Charges say Zilberstein didn’t obtain patients' informed consent, provide anti-drug diversion safeguards for controlled substances or keep medical records and had sexual relations with one patient for whom he was prescribing drugs.

Investigators said Zilberstein made disparaging and racist remarks against a patient and misrepresented his work schedule to an investigator.

Until charges are resolved, Zilberstein can’t practice as a physician in Washington. He has 20 days to respond to the charges and to request a hearing, according to the Department of Health.

The Medical Quality Assurance Commission develops rules, policies and procedures to regulate physicians’ and physician assistants’ competency and quality.

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