South Carolina

State report card

The report card for each state contains the scores it received when we evaluated it for how well it protects patients against sexually abusive doctors. The overall rating is the average of the score the state received in each category. In states with two medical boards, one for osteopathic physicians and the other for medical doctors, the overall rating is based on an average of each board’s scores.

Click on the boxes below to read how South Carolina did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.

50

State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 55
    Are consumer members included to balance physicians’ tendency to identify with their colleagues? More...
    A blueprint developed by The Federation of State Medical Boards recognized the importance of having independent public members on physician-dominated medical regulatory agencies. To assess the composition of disciplinary agencies, the AJC used three measures, with the most weight given to consumer representation. Top grades went to states where public members make up at least 40 percent of the board; where those members represent consumers and where neither they nor their family members have professional or financial ties to health care; and where women hold at least 40 percent of the board seats.

More from South Carolina

Highlighted case

Dr. Robert Francis Marion Jr.

In 2001, the pediatrician was charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct and of a lewd act with a minor, among other charges arising from acts that occurred from 1977 to 1994 involving seven children he molested at his home and at his medical office.

According to court records, colleagues had suspected he was molesting young patients, but instead of notifying anyone, they allowed him to move to another office.

A man whose son was molested later filed suit, saying that a psychiatrist who learned from a victim that Marion was molesting patients failed to report it to law enforcement, the medical board or child protection authorities. Instead, the lawsuit said, the psychiatrist attempted to treat Marion “for his predilection for child molestation simultaneously with [the psychiatrist’s] treatment of other existing victims.”

An appeals court in 2004 rejected the lawsuit, saying that the psychiatrist did not have a duty to report “because there was no specific threat to a specific individual.”

Marion has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In South Carolina, the best chance of finding problems is to search the records offered by the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners. Please note that license search results typically include all public disciplinary actions, not just those involving sexual misconduct, and can sometimes include vague language. Also, some states deal with some disciplinary issues privately; private board orders are not included.

Complaint process

Anonymous complaints may be accepted from people in fear who insist on remaining anonymous. The board also will investigate cases without a complaint, based on news media reports or from malpractice cases. However, the complaint form on the website of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation requires that the person filing the complaint verify under oath the information.

Where to file a complaint

Quoted

“If Respondent practices, there should be a check and balance system… whereby at least two individuals working with him provide Staff Surveillance Feedback regarding his patient care and lack of sexual harassment or professional sexual misconduct in those environments. In addition, he should have a polygraph every six months to ensure that he has not been involved in any sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.”

— Recommendation in the case of a doctor accused of a sexual relationship with a patient/employee to whom he prescribed various controlled substances, and a sexual relationship with another patient/employee

Key fact

The state issues private agreements with some physicians accused of sexual contact with patients. Board orders provide scant information about allegations against doctors.

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