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Board reinstates Las Vegas doctor with history of DUI arrests, medical complaints

A Las Vegas anesthesiologist accused in a lawsuit of igniting a sexual relationship and prescribing a patient medication in exchange for sex will be allowed to practice again with certain stipulations, the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners determined Friday.

Ronald Hope Foote, a pain management doctor with a history of medical board complaints, appeared before the board Friday to ask for an order lifting a summary suspension of his license.

Foote received his fifth citation for driving under the influence and was arrested in 2014 after a series of formal medical board complaints, according to the board. His license was suspended May 2014.

His legal counsel, L. Kristopher Rath, told the board the DUI arrest was a “big mistake” but that the doctor is committed to proving his recovery to the board.

“If there’s any concern over whether he’s been punished for what happened, I would assure you that he has been thoroughly punished,” Rath said.

Stipulations for lifting the suspension included a requirement Foote be treated at least monthly by an addiction behavioral specialist and require oversight by a chaperone during all visits with female patients.

After one year, he could be able to seek the board’s permission for removal of those stipulations.

Though some board members expressed concerns over allowing Foote to practice, the board’s legal staff pointed out he could choose to go through a hearing to lift the suspension without restrictions. Staff members said they’d have a hard time proving Foote as an immediate threat to patients.

Foote remains a defendant in a malpractice lawsuit in Clark County District Court that alleges he traded addictive drugs for sex.

According to court documents, a female former patient said she visited Foote in late 2012 for mild back pain and anxiety. The paperwork claims Foote grabbed her buttocks, telling the patient she was attractive and prescribing her Oxycodone and Xanax without taking an in-depth medical history.

The patient claimed she later was offered $10,000 to deny she had sex with Foote and that she feared for her life.

A jury trial in that case is scheduled Sept. 26. The plaintiff’s attorney, E. Brent Bryson, said he is looking forward to court but declined to comment on Foote’s license.

During Friday’s meeting, board members read from a report provided by a recovery center in Los Angeles indicating Foote had committed more than 17 sexual boundary violations in the course of his work. Foote called that assessment a misunderstanding based on a brief conversation and said he reached out to the person who compiled it to register his complaints.

“It’s our position that is incorrect,” Rath said.

Foote also told the board he took two polygraph tests regarding professional sexual misconduct, failing one and passing the other.

Police arrested Foote in September 2004 after they said he fled the scene of a traffic incident, according to a report by the Las Vegas Sun. He was taken to University Medical Center smelling of alcohol, and after arriving at the hospital, Foote grabbed the crotch of a male nurse, also saying he wouldn’t help an officer who was present if he ever needed life-saving treatment, according to police.

Foote was ordered to complete a treatment program in which he was enrolled, was required to pay nearly $10,000 in administrative costs and was reprimanded by the board.

“I have made a very strong effort to have as strong a recovery from alcoholism as possible, and I’d like to remind the board that unfortunately I have this disease,” Foote said Friday.

Foote added that he entered a recovery center after the 2014 arrest, currently attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every week and has been a mentor to others who are newly recovering.

He told the board he can’t assure them he will fully control the alcholism but said he could “daily do things to maintain my recovery and prevent myself from going to an active phase of the disease.”

Contact Pashtana Usufzy at pusufzy@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @pashtana_u on Twitter.

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