Report blasts board in licensing convicted doctor

AP News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2014 7:12 PM

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Board of Physicians put patients at risk by licensing a physician who had served 3 1/2 years in a Florida prison for raping a woman at gunpoint, according to a report released Wednesday.

Dr. William T. Dando, 60, of Rawlings, permanently surrendered his Maryland license in September to resolve charges he sexually assaulted a female patient at a walk-in clinic in LaVale in April. He is fighting lawsuits alleging he sexually assaulted another woman patient at the same clinic last year, and that he caused the death of a Baltimore County woman who died of a prescription drug overdose in 2010.

The state Board of Physicians knew that Dando was under treatment for alcohol abuse when he applied for a medical license in 1996, said the report by Thomas V. Russell, inspector general of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The board learned from the University of Miami medical school during the review process that Dando had been "arrested in 1987, charged with a felony and convicted," Russell wrote.

Yet the board accepted Dando's explanation that he had simply committed an "assault while under the influence of alcohol" and granted him a license. The board then failed to investigate information it received from the Georgia State Board of Physicians in 1997 and the Florida Department of Corrections in 2003, detailing Dando's arrest for the Orlando-area assault.

Although it didn't break any laws, "the board should not have issued a license to him without first obtaining all of the relevant information available regarding his 1987 conviction," Russell wrote.

He wrote that he supports the current board's proposal to seek legislative authority next year to conduct criminal background checks on license applicants. Russell said he found it "particularly disturbing" that the board had resisted calls for background checks before the Dando case came to light.

His review also detailed two previous cases of physicians who were licensed in Maryland after providing false information about prior criminal convictions. The Associated Press couldn't immediately verify details of those cases.

The Board of Physicians acknowledged in a written response that errors were made during Dando's licensing process. Chairman Devinder Singh and Executive Director Christine Farrelly wrote that board staff should have investigated Dando's application more thoroughly, and that they failed to act on information they received after he was licensed.

"Thus, staff errors, failure to follow requisite procedures, reliance on other entities, and the lack of thorough investigation is troubling and contrary to the mission of the board to protect the public," the board officials wrote.