Doctor accused of friend requesting patient on Facebook 2 days after colonoscopy

by: John Knicely Updated:

SEATTLE - A Seattle doctor is accused of friend requesting a woman on Facebook two days after performing an intimate, invasive procedure on her: a colonoscopy.  

Dr. Mitchell Cohen is charged with unprofessional conduct by the Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission. 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News went to Cohen’s office on First Hill to get his side of the story on Thursday.  His receptionist said he was busy in procedures all day.  KIRO 7 left contact information. 

Cohen is allowed to continue practicing while the commission determines its final ruling.

 The commission report said the patient is a single woman in her 30s who worked in the news and entertainment industry. 

The report said Cohen acknowledged that he “looked up (the patient) on the Internet because he was curious about her position.”  It stated he “was curious exactly what her position was at (the company), as (he has) several friends with executive positions in the industry.”  The report added Cohen acknowledged he “occasionally looks (his patients) up on the Internet.”

The possible punishment ranges from the doctor agreeing he/she made a mistake and agreeing not to do it again to revoking the doctor's license. And the Department of Health says by law they must choose the least severe penalty as warranted by how bad the doctor messed up. 

The commission report noted Cohen “violated a boundary and took advantage of the doctor-patient relationship,”  and that his “actions provided no potential benefit” to the patient.

Cohen now has the option to defend himself against the charges, before a decision is handed down. 

A Washington Department of Health spokesman said they don’t categorize social media cases, so they don't have specific statistics.  But he said it seems to have happened more in recent years as more people use social media.