When a registered nurse was looking for a place near work to get vitamin B-12 injections, she went to Yelp and found a clinic with good reviews.
But her experience at the Health Atlast clinic in Fountain Valley left her with emotional “distress, anxiety [and] panic attacks” and led to revocation of a doctor’s license, according to case documents.
On July 19, Administrative Law Judge Matthew Goldsby affirmed the accusations in a Medical Board of California complaint against Dr. Sean Ataee and agreed to revoke his medical license. The decision was adopted by the medical board on Aug. 6 and becomes effective Sept. 5, according to documents.
The woman went to Health Atlast on Oct. 21, 2016, and received B-12 injections from Ataee, the clinic’s medical director and part owner.
The woman returned for a follow-up appointment three weeks later and alleged that during treatment on her back and neck, she felt the doctor’s groin press against her arm. Thinking it may have been accidental, she “‘tried to make herself smaller’ by pulling her arms close to her body,” according to documents.
Later during the session, when she was told to lie on her back, the doctor raised her right arm and touched her shoulder and armpit before moving his hand down to move her medical gown and expose her breast before touching and squeezing it, documents allege.
The doctor repeated the same actions on her left arm and breast, despite her protestations that she was “fine there,” according to documents.
In an examination of the patient’s hip rotation, she was instructed to walk in circles while the doctor walked behind her with his hands on her hips outside her clothing, documents said. As she walked, the doctor’s right hand moved down the front of her medical scrub pants and into her underwear while she could “feel him press his hardened groin against her butt.” She froze and refused his instruction to bend over, documents said, at which point the doctor “backed away and left abruptly.”
The patient quickly dressed and left the clinic but minutes later called to cancel a future appointment and complain about the doctor’s behavior.
The receptionist notified the other owner, Karen Tafreshi, a licensed chiropractor, that the patient had told her Ataee “put his hands in places that made her uncomfortable,” according to documents. The receptionist had received at least two other complaints from patients about Ataee’s conduct, documents said.
Six causes of actions were brought against Ataee in a Nov. 20 complaint accusing him of incompetence, sexual misconduct, unprofessional conduct, gross negligence and repeated negligence, documents show.
Ataee was granted a California medical license in 2008 after being turned down four times. He was convicted in 2001 of misdemeanor sexual abuse in New York. New York’s medical board granted him a medical license in 2004.
Sclafani writes for Times Community News.