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 firstname.lastname@example.org.