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Lodi doctor accused of using drugs, inappropriate behavior on the job

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Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 1:23 pm | Updated: 11:05 am, Wed Jun 6, 2012.

A Lodi doctor may lose his license after admitting to state medical investigators that he was getting high and watching pornography while on the job.

Dr. Peter Graff Hickox, 56, an obstetrician and gynecologist, admitted to officials with the Medical Board of California that he was hooked on inhalants and was watching pornography while at work. The board filed an immediate order to suspend Hickox's license May 17, according to board spokesman Dan Wood.

Hickox was allowed to perform medical procedures at Lodi Memorial Hospital and worked with Gould Medical Group in Stockton prior to his license being suspended.

"There was such an urgency to protect consumer health that we went straight to the judge," Wood said. "We had to get his license suspended right away. And now he (and his attorney) can go through the full due process effort."

According to Wood, a janitor who worked for Hickox found aerosol canisters in Hickox's office trash cans in Lodi and notified the office manager. When confronted, Wood said, Hickox told the manager to "mind his own business."

However, word spread to the hospital's administration and they called Hickox in for review, Wood added. It was during that meeting that Hickox admitted to having a problem.

Hickox said "he had inhaled substances and had been doing so for quite some time" and that "he had watched gay pornography and masturbated in his office in conjunction with his use of inhalants," board documents state.

The canisters found in the trash can were called Jungle Juice and Maximum Impact, which are sometimes used recreationally to get high and to increase sexual arousal and pleasure.

Jungle Juice is bottled in Canada, where it is a legal inhalant substance as long as it is only exported. It is readily available on the Internet.

Maximum Impact is sold in stores and is readily available over the Internet. Though the product has a legitimate use as a VCR head cleaner, it is often marketed over the Internet as a means of getting a "rush" or "high" and for enhancing sexual pleasure.

Hickox was suspended from seeing Lodi Memorial patients, Wood said, until he sought treatment for his issues.

However, Hickox never showed up to an appointment that was scheduled for him with a doctor, and according to Lodi Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Carol Farron, he stopped working at the hospital shortly thereafter. Farron said he stopped performing medical procedures at Lodi Memorial Hospital on Feb. 3.

While Farron could not comment on Hickox's license suspension or when Hickox stopped working for Lodi Memorial, she did say the hospital administrators took immediate action when they heard what the janitor had found.

Hickox then transferred to work with Sutter Gould Medical Group in Stockton, according to his license records.

The medical group did not returns calls for comment as of press time regarding Hickox's license suspension.

Hickox is being represented by Stockton-based law firm Hakeem, Ellis & Marengo.

His lawyer, Albert Ellis, did not return phone calls for comment.

Prior to his suspension, Hickox was licensed to practice obstetrics and gynecology in California. He was also certified to practice endocrinology.

He graduated from Albany Medical School at Union University in New York in 1981, and he had seven years of post-graduate training prior to being licensed to practice medicine.

He was licensed in California on Feb. 5, 2003 and his license is set to expire on July 31.

Prior to his license suspension on May 17, he had not had any citations or malpractice actions taken against him, according to medical board records.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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  • Billie Jo Sennett posted at 6:37 pm on Thu, May 24, 2012.

    Billie Jo Sennett Posts: 1

    First and Most Importand Dr Hickox I, my family, and many others love you dearly and are praying for you! You have such a huge support system for you if you need us just like you were always there when we needed you! xoxo.......Now Dr Hickox is human and as with anyone such as police officers, judges, teachers if they find themselves trapped with an addiction the should be allowed to seek treatment just because one scheduled appointment was missed he may of had things that came up but just like with others his business should not of been put out like this. This should of stayed with the medical board to me this is a breech of confidentiality.....Dr Hickox has never hurt anyone he helpped my husband and I get pregnant with our first son and he was suppose to be delivering my third son who im expecting in october now I dont know if thats going to break my heart especially since every Dr I have seen since has been very mean and are causing me alot of pain...either way Dr Hickox Shane and I are here for you.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 2:20 pm on Thu, May 24, 2012.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2238

    Given the fact that the guy confessed, I am left to wonder why the headline reads "accused" .

  • adri gutierrez posted at 1:45 pm on Thu, May 24, 2012.

    CarpeDiem Posts: 2

    Its not gory, its just the hard hitting facts . I think the Lodi New Sentinel is professional , well respected newspaper and I dont think the reporters need to "excercise discretion" its not like people havent heard of this stuff before.

  • Jay Samone posted at 8:09 am on Thu, May 24, 2012.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    Rhiannon - I was a patient of Dr. Hickox too - I thought he was great! He delivered my daughter and he seemed as normal as anyone else around - although I did question a couple of night nurses at LMH (they looked like they did meth regularly) but I digress.

    It looks like the truth was told - he admitted it. He admitted he has a drug problem and he needs help. I don't understand why he used inhalants - I mean, most Drs have coke problems right? But whatever. I don't know if you have ever taken out trash, but I usually look at the trash when I bend down to pull it out of the can. If I were a janitor and I saw several cans of illegal inhalants, I think I'd say something too. If he were innocent, an investigation would easily clear him of any wrong doing. What everyone should be focused on is that he get the treatment he needs to be sober and that no one was harmed (that has been reported) while under his care.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 10:46 pm on Wed, May 23, 2012.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2238

    Looks like the truth has been told and its pretty graphic. The guy confessed so its a little hard to see some sort of a conspiracy here.

  • Rhiannon Viramontes posted at 4:37 pm on Wed, May 23, 2012.

    Mommyrhi Posts: 1

    I just have one question, if the Gills knew about this why did it take them so long to report it? Why was the janitor going through his trash? Hmmm this just doesnt add up to me! I agree with Barbara, way too much information was mentioned in this article.

    I have been a pt of Dr. Hickox for many years. He has became an amazing friend and has always been there for not only our family but many others. We are love him and are praying for him! The truth will be told...

  • Jose Sanborn posted at 9:29 pm on Tue, May 22, 2012.

    Jose Sanborn Posts: 34

    You're right Barbara, I think there is way too much graphic information in this article. Please Lodi News-Sentinel, have your reporters exercise a little discretion in their articles.

  • barbara wells posted at 7:44 pm on Tue, May 22, 2012.

    barbara wells Posts: 24

    Honestly, is it necessary to put all the gory details in this story? Children may read this story, and besides it shows a lack of professional tact.



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