A Georgia doctor with a history of sexually violating patients has had his license suspended after he was found to be a threat to the public.
The Georgia Composite Medical Board on Monday suspended the medical license of Dr. Narendra M. Patel after a board-ordered assessment at Vanderbilt University determined that the Dalton doctor is "unfit to practice medicine with female patients."
The board had ordered the assessment in February after receiving information that the doctor had touched two patients inappropriately, according to the disciplinary order. The doctor's specialty is a gastroenterology, according to his profile on the board's website.
Twenty years ago, Patel faced similar allegations.
In 1997 after he entered a guilty plea, under Georgia's First Offender Act, to sexual battery involving a patient, the medical board suspended his license. The charges in that case involved the doctor placing his mouth on a patient's breast without the patient's consent, according to the order.
The 1997 disciplinary document said the board had received information about the doctor's actions with other patients, suggesting a pattern of sexual misconduct involving female patients.
Despite the criminal conviction and allegations, the board later that year agreed to a process that allowed Patel to return to seeing patients under probation, with the requirement that he enter therapy and have a chaperone present in the exam room when seeing female patients. In 2003, the board ended probation and lifted all restrictions.
In its new order signed on Monday, the board said the doctor's continued practice of medicine posed a threat to the public, which justified its emergency action to summarily suspend his license. He is entitled to an expedited hearing to contest the board's action, according to the order.
Patel did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for an interview.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's award-winning Doctors & Sex Abuse series, published last year, uncovered cases of physician sexual misconduct from across the nation. The series determined that doctors who have sexually abused patients were frequently allowed to return to practice by medical licensing boards.