Accounts of drug use, sex with patients prompt state to lift doctor's license
The patients said they had chronic fatigue syndrome. The doctor, they allege, treated them with sex and drugs, claimed he was God, fathered children and said he was the source of the universe, from a "higher spiritual realm."
On Wednesday, a state board suspended the license of Dr. Robert A. Hallowitz, 48, a Gaithersburg family practitioner who has lectured nationally on chronic fatigue syndrome. The charges include immoral conduct, drug use and failure to meet appropriate medical standards.
The action by the state Board of Physician Quality Assurance came after three patients filed complaints.
The patients, some of whom the doctor introduced to each other, allege that Dr. Hallowitz said he was committed to fathering many children by many "wives." And they say he referred to the devil, whom he called "Lenny."
The state board suspended Dr. Hallowitz's license before holding a hearing, which is set for next month. The board acts before a hearing in about 10 percent of its cases, when it believes that a physician's continuing practice poses a danger to the public.
Dr. Hallowitz declined to comment. But Fred R. Joseph, the doctor's lawyer, protested yesterday that the physician's license was suspended "without his having the opportunity to confront witnesses against him, without his having the opportunity to have counsel and without having a real hearing on the issues." The physician quality assurance board oversees doctors' licensing and could bar Dr. Hallowitz from practicing in Maryland. Yesterday, the licensing board released two of its investigative reports -- involving five patients identified only as Patients A, B, C, D and E.
The investigation began March 15 when a woman called the board alleging that she'd had sex with Dr. Hallowitz for four years as part of her treatment for chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome.
They met up to three times a week for lunchtime sex and to smoke marijuana or hashish, she said. The woman, Patient A, said Dr. Hallowitz warned her that "those that 'turned from him' would not regain their health," according to the board's report. She allegedly ended the relationship in October, 1990. Since then, the report says, she has attempted suicide twice.
Patient B, a man, went to Dr. Hallowitz in 1980 for treatment of cold sores. Over the next 10 years, he visited the doctor up to 10 times a month. In 1983, Dr. Hallowitz began treating the man's wife, Patient C, in the couple's home. The man told investigators Dr. Hallowitz took the wife into an upstairs bedroom for sex.
Patient B told state investigators that his wife and Dr. Hallowitz announced in 1985 that the child she was carrying was the doctor's.
Eventually, according to the report, the woman told her husband that two of their four children were actually fathered by the doctor.
Since 1990, the report says, Patient B has been seeing a psychologist. His wife is still Dr. Hallowitz's patient, the man says.
Patient D, according to the report, was a woman who had sex with the doctor at lunchtime for about six months in 1987.
Patient E, according to the doctor's medical records, consulted him for symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome for a month in 1987. The woman said Dr. Hallowitz talked about a group he'd like her to join, saying he had a secret mission "bigger than the CIA," the report says. Dr. Hallowitz also reportedly "told her stories about people who had displeased him meeting untimely deaths." And he referred to "Lenny."
She stopped visiting him and consulted a psychiatrist.