(CN) – A Texas dentist was rightfully suspended for offering to expose her breasts to a patient, among other violations, the Texas Court of Appeals ruled.
The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners imposed a 15-year suspension and a $20,000 fine on Misty Brown. E.B., a 17-year-old patient, testified before an administrative law judge that Brown tried to console her for having a discolored tooth by offering to show the scars from her breast cancer surgery.
“Dr. Brown sat me on her lap as if I were a child, and proceeded to tell me about her breast cancer,” E.B. said. “She also offered to show my mother and I her breast, just as if to compare, look I have cancer, you have a brown tooth.”
Her mother, A.B., testified: “She said, you think you have something to cry about? Let me show you my breasts. And we both said, oh no, no, it’s fine. We don’t want to see your breasts, thank you. We both thought it was very inappropriate.”
The administrative law judge did not think it was too inappropriate.
“E.B. and A.B, are both female,” the judge wrote. “Dr. Brown’s offer to E.B. and A.B. to show her breast scars was not dishonorable or unprofessional conduct.”
However, Justice Rodriguez of the Corpus Christi-based 13th District Appeals Court deferred to the board’s expertise in ruling that Brown’s conduct was not appropriate.
“A reasonable mind might accept such relevant evidence,” Rodriguez wrote, “that the complained-of behavior constituted dishonorable conduct.”
Rodriguez also upheld the board’s finding that Brown’s 15-year suspension is justified for her failure to keep adequate dental records and the impermissible delegation of dental work.
Brown argued that the case was barred by res judicata due to a previous settlement she signed with the board in 2002, but Rodriguez ruled that the settlement was not a final order.