Kaiser Permanente physician loses medical license for alleged affair with patient

The Medical Board of California revoked the license of a Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa (Calif.) Medical Center OB-GYN physician earlier this month after learning he entered into a sexual relationship with a patient, who later became a nurse at the hospital's labor and delivery unit.

Here are seven things to know about the case.

1. The medical board announced the revocation of Austin Kooba's, MD, medical license Feb. 21. The revocation went into effect Feb. 8.

2. According to the medical board, Dr. Kooba was engaged in a relationship with the unidentified patient from October 2013 to June 2014. In February 2014, the patient learned she was pregnant with Dr. Kooba's child. In an attempt to hide the woman's pregnancy from his then-wife, Dr. Kooba prescribed the patient a drug that induces miscarriages.

3. After the abortion, the patient claimed their relationship began to deteriorate, and proceeded to report the affair to her supervisors at Kaiser Permanente, according to the medical board.

"The inappropriate relationship between Dr. Kooba and his patient is an egregious violation of the law and especially concerning to the board," said Kimberly Kirchmeyer, executive director of the Medical Board of California.

4. Dr. Kooba could not be reached for comment by the Argus Courier. However, an attorney for Dr. Kooba told the publication he is considering appealing the case, stating, "The administrative process did not result in truth and justice."

5. A spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente told the Argus Courier Dr. Kooba was placed on administrative leave in January 2017, and has been barred from seeing Kaiser Permanente patients since then. The spokesperson did not specify if Dr. Kooba was still part of the Kaiser Permanente medical group.

"Because of state confidentiality and due process laws, we cannot comment on any ongoing internal proceedings regarding Dr. Kooba," the spokesperson said.

6. Kaiser Permanente released its own statement Feb. 21, stating the health system "takes this matter extremely seriously and fully cooperated with the California Medical Board in its investigation."

7. The case was reportedly brought to the medical board's attention after former California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a complaint against Dr. Kooba in December 2016, according to the Argus Courier.

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