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State revokes Faulkner cardiologist’s license after affair

The state Board of Registration in Medicine has revoked the license of a 54-year-old Faulkner Hospital cardiologist and internist after finding that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a female patient who was also a co-worker.

Dr. Gary Brockington, who has been affiliated with Faulkner since 1990, will have until Dec. 11 to close his practice “in an orderly fashion,” according to a statement released by the board this week.

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Russell Aims, a board spokesman, said Friday that “the board has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct between physicians and patients.”

Reached at his Norwood home, Brockington told a Globe reporter Thursday that he was unaware of the board’s decision. “I have not heard that,” he said, in a brief phone interview. “I can’t comment.”

Paul R. Cirel, a Boston lawyer representing Brockington, said he will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Judicial Court, which hears appeals of suspension or license revocations.

“We will file as soon as possible,” Cirel said.

The actions that led to the license revocation are detailed in a report from the Division of Administrative Law Appeals, an independent agency that conducts hearings for state administrative bodies such as the Board of Registration in Medicine.

Brockington was newly divorced, bankrupt, and despondent in the months leading up to the brief affair with the patient in 2006, according to the documents. During that time, his only sibling, a sister, broke her neck, her husband left her, and Brockington became a legal guardian for his sister’s children, aged 2 and 4.

The patient, a Faulkner technician who worked with Brockington during surgeries, offered him a room in her basement, the documents show.

Brockington, who was on medical leave, accepted. But he advised the woman, who was married with children, that he could no longer serve as her doctor, according to the records.

“He was doing the ethical thing,” Cirel said. “He said, ‘If we are going to have a more personal relationship, then I shouldn’t be your physician.’ Thereafter, he never saw her physically as a patient.”

During that time, as the woman was looking for another doctor, Brockington refilled prescriptions he had previously written for her, the records show. Brockington had been the woman’s primary care physician since 2000.

“He accepted her invitation to stay in her house. His intention was not to have an intimate relationship with her. She was a co-worker,” Cirel said.

The board did not identify the woman.

Brockington lived in the woman’s basement for about two months, and the sexual affair unfolded during the last two weeks of his stay. He moved out by July 4, 2006, the records show.

Faulkner Hospital received an anonymous complaint in December 2006 about Brockington’s brief affair with a patient.

“At first he denied the allegation, but then revealed the circumstances . . . to the chief of the Faulkner medical staff,” the records state.

Dr. O’Neil Britton, chief medical officer at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, said in a statement Friday, “We respectfully accept the [board’s] ruling regarding Dr. Brockington as stated and will work with his office to assist in a safe transition of care for his patients.”

After Brockington moved out of the woman’s house, he rebuffed her attempts to resume the affair, and even sought help from the woman’s husband to persuade her to find another primary care physician, the records show.

The state report notes that the patient never testified in the case against Brockington and that the state received no evidence “to show her side of what happened between the two of them.”

It found that Brockington attempted to sever his professional relationship as the woman’s doctor before the affair began, but that “he was well aware that his efforts were not succeeding, and that he entered into the sexual relationship . . . knowing the physician-patient relationship had not fully concluded.”

In its report, the Division of Administrative Law Appeals also noted that the medical board has dealt harshly with physicians who engaged in sexual misconduct with patients. “Such misconduct signals a lack of sound professional judgment, a lack of sensitivity regarding the trust a patient places in a physician, and shows a lack of integrity,” the division said.

Brockington has no prior disciplinary record with the state medical board, and has never had a malpractice judgment against him, records show.

Cirel said Brockington’s main concern now is for his 2,000 patients, many of them elderly and with heart problems. “He is a fabulous doctor, whose patients adore him,” Cirel said. “First and foremost, he is going to focus on making sure there are no ongoing issues with his patients. He will transfer their care.”

Kathy McCabe can be reached at kmccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe. Kay Lazar can be reached at klazar@globe.com.
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