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OBGYN Suspended for Sexting Patient

COLUMBUS (Lisa Rantala) -- A Columbus gynecologist was suspended Wednesday after the medical board found he abused his power to fulfill his sexual fantasies with a patient.

This case marks the first time the board found incidences of sexual misconduct with a patient through social media alone.

Obstetrician Dr. Patrick Muffley had asked for a warning before getting suspended.

"At the time, I failed to appreciate the danger of the slippery slope I placed myself on," Muffley said.

The doctor apologized in front of the state medical board for the private Facebook messages he had sent a patient. Dr. Muffley sent more than 100 messages to a female patient, with subjects ranging from photo requests to an offer for a different mouth-to-mouth practice.

"When you look at the messages posted, I'm literally too embarrassed to read them," board member Amol Soin said.

Dr. Muffley said he never touched his patient inappropriately and never should have accepted her friend request. He said he's in counseling.

But board members agreed that Dr. Muffley did cross the line into sexual misconduct and suspended his license for two months.

Defense attorney Elizabeth Collis called the punishment unfair and unjust.

"He was made a scapegoat," Collis said. "They threw him out to show when you have to terminate communications with a patient."

"It will devastate his practice," she said.

Dr. Muffley declined to comment after the hearing.

Dr. Muffley has 120 patients, many of whom are expected to give birth in a matter of days. To accommodate these patients, Dr. Muffley's suspension will take effect next month. He is not to take on any new patients prior to the suspension.

The doctor is to be on probation for two years after he gets his license back and is to be chaperoned during visits with female patients. He is also to complete an ethics training course. 

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