State regulators have restricted the license of a Kentucky doctor accused of making sexually explicit comments to a woman who had seen him for a hysterectomy.
Dr. Stephen P. Meese, who practiced for several years in Stanford before leaving in late 2017, allegedly grabbed the woman’s thighs after the operation and said he loved performing oral sex.
The woman, who was not identified in the report, said Meese asked if her upcoming birthday party would involve nudity and alcohol and said if so, he wanted to be her designated driver.
Meese denied touching the woman improperly or making sexually improper remarks, and said her allegations were a mischaracterization of medical information he had given her.
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However, he acknowledged a comment about serving as a designated driver for the woman.
“I now realize that I should not have made such a comment,” Meese said in a response to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
The board and Meese entered into an agreed order that said he had engaged in conduct that violated a state law under which the board can restrict or revoke a doctor’s license based on “dishonorable, unethical, or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public or any member thereof.”
The order bars Meese from treating female patients without a chaperone present, for an indefinite period. The board must approve the chaperone, and Meese has to keep a log of patients.
The order also requires Meese to undergo a professional assessment at Vanderbilt University and comply with any recommendation for “corrective or therapeutic action.”
The order said Meese, whose specialty is obstetrics and gynecology, resigned from practice in Stanford last September but has a practice in Lebanon.
He listed his address with the board as Sardinia, Ohio.
The woman said the incidents that led to the order started in May 2017 when she went to Meese’s office in Stanford to schedule a hysterectomy, according to records from the licensure board.
The woman said when she told Meese she wanted to wait until after her birthday for the surgery, he asked if there would be alcohol and nudity at the party and wanted to be her driver if so.
“I thought that was a bad attempt at humor,” the woman said in her complaint.
She said that when she went back in June for an ultrasound, Meese made a “framing” motion with his hands, pointed toward her vaginal area and said “best view ever,” which she found inappropriate.
She said she was fully dressed at the time and had her feet up in stirrups on the examination table.
Meese also told her he preferred women with pubic hair, she said in the complaint.
After the surgery, Meese came into her hospital room, sat on the bed, commented on bruises on her inner thighs and grabbed her thighs, the woman claimed.
She said Meese left the room when her boyfriend came in.
Later that day when talking with her as she prepared to check out of the hospital, Meese told her not to have penetrative sex for six weeks, but said if she “just couldn’t wait,” she could engage in oral sex.
“And I love, love, love giving oral sex,” the woman said Meese told her.
The woman said she was alone with Meese when he made the alleged inappropriate comments.
She said she reported the comments to a nurse and a nurse practitioner, and ultimately to the risk manager for Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, part of the company that also owns Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford.
The woman said she received a letter in September saying that Meese no longer worked at the hospital but wanted to make sure his alleged misconduct was reported to the board that can discipline physicians.
She said she didn’t want a teenage girl to experience something similar from Meese and think it was normal, investigator Kevin Payne said in a report to the board.
In his response, Meese denied making a “framing” sign toward the woman while she was in stirrups on an exam table or saying anything about the view.
There would be no reason for a patient to have her feet in stirrups while clothed, Meese said.
Meese also said he did not make an inappropriate comment about giving oral sex, but rather told the woman her options if she wanted to be sexually active while recovering from surgery after she complained that six weeks was a long time to wait.
“I did not, nor would I ever, speak to any patient as (the woman) has described,” Meese said.
Meese said there was a chaperone in the room with him when he talked to the woman, but could not remember who it was, according to the board’s order.
Meese said his comment about pubic hair was in the context of telling the woman that she didn’t need to completely shave because not doing so would reduce the risk of infection.
Meese said he asked the woman about bruises on her thighs because he was concerned about possible abuse, but did not grab her. She was covered by sheets at the time, he said.
The woman volunteered while scheduling her surgery that she planned to get really drunk and “have a lot of sex” on her birthday, Meese said, so he jokingly mentioned being her designated driver, but also told her he would not be in town that weekend.
Meese said he sometimes takes a light-hearted approach with patients to put them at ease, but never meant to make the woman feel uncomfortable.