Rhode Island physician deliberately exposed patients, staff to COVID-19, health director finds

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Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, has ordered an emergency suspension of a physician's license after investigators determined he deliberately exposed clinic staff and patients to COVID-19 and presented a danger to the public, according to The Providence Journal. 

Anthony Farina, MD, was suspended from practicing medicine Jan. 14 for an overall pattern of willful misconduct. His license is suspended until further order by the Rhode Island Department of Health or the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, according to the report. 

The Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline moved to have Dr. Farina's license suspended after hearing witness testimony that he exposed patients and staff to COVID-19 after becoming symptomatic in late November. Witnesses said the physician worked after testing positive for COVID-19, continuing to see patients while wearing a mask that exposed his nose. 

Dr. Farina "continued to see patients while knowingly sick. He passed the virus to employees. I think this was the wrong thing to do," an unidentified staff member wrote. 

Dr. Farina has denied the allegations and said he will appeal the order. 

"I strongly deny the false allegations made by the Rhode Island Department of Health that I at any time threatened the health of my patients. As a doctor, my first responsibility is to do no harm, and I take that oath extremely seriously," he said, according to The Providence Journal

"I want to reassure all of my patients that I would never place them in harm. I am appealing RIDOH's suspension of my license and am confident I will be thoroughly cleared of these false and misleading allegations," he continued.

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