Dismissed doctor quickly hired by clinic

Recommended by friend; credentials unchecked

A spokesman for Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, Jim Mandler, confirms that Allan Zarkin, MD, carved his initials in the patient in the delivery room and that staff members saw the mutilation immediately afterward. They reported the incident to their superiors without delay, he says, and the patient discovered the initials when she was in the recovery room.

The hospital’s chief administrator visited the patient the next day to see the carving and suspended Zarkin’s privileges a day later. On Sept. 17, Zarkin resigned his privileges.

Several sources confirm this sequence of events: Beth Israel Medical Center reported the incident to the New York State Department of Health, saying Zarkin would no longer practice there because of "gross misconduct," providing no details on the incident. At the same time, Zarkin’s partners at his physician group dismissed him. On Nov. 1, 1999, Zarkin was hired as medical director at Choices Women’s Medical Center in Long Island City, NY, by an old friend. On Nov. 4, 1999, Zarkin poorly performed a gynecological operation, according to a complaint filed with the state health department.

The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 9, 1999, and on Dec. 13, 1999, Beth Israel sent the president of Choices a letter saying Zarkin’s privileges had expired. The letter did not detail why Zarkin left Beth Israel but suggested Choices’ president call the hospital if she had further questions. She did not learn of the carving incident until Dec. 28, 1999, when the plaintiff’s attorney sent a copy of the civil suit sent to the clinic. She fired Zarkin that day.

On Jan. 7, 2000, Zarkin volunteered to temporarily suspend his license at the request of the state health department. On Feb. 3, the health department announced that Zarkin’s license was permanently revoked.