A doctor whose license was suspended by the Medical Board of California for allegedly using inhalants and performing sexual acts in his Lodi medical office is being allowed to practice, although there are restrictions.
An administrative law judge last week cleared obstetrician Peter Hickox to return to work, but he is prohibited from performing surgeries or delivering babies. He also cannot work in a solo practice, after-hours or be on call, according to the Aug. 21 decision.
It was based on reviews by two out-of-the-area doctors, including one who said any physical effects of using the specific inhalants Hickox admitted to using would only be temporary, perhaps several minutes. They are known to relax muscle cells, lower blood pressure and cause a rise in heart rate, according to Dr. Randall Solomon, who was quoted in state board documents.
Hickox could not be reached for comment, and his attorney did not return a phone call.
In May, Hickox's state license was suspended after he admitted to state medical board investigators that he was using inhalants commonly known as "poppers," masturbating and watching pornography while at work on the weekends and on call for Lodi Memorial Hospital.
He was terminated in February from the Gill Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Office in Lodi, where he practiced for two years. He worked in the Stockton office since 2003.
A janitor who worked in the Lodi office found aerosol canisters in Hickox's office trash cans, and after approximately eight months notified the office manager when the number of cans started increasing, according to state records.
When confronted, a state investigator 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. It was during that meeting that Hickox reportedly broke down in tears and admitted to Dr. Parampal Gill to having a problem.
At that time, 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.
While working, he used Viagra at the office for sexual arousal, in addition to "Jungle Juice" and "Maximum Impact," products sold legally as household and video head cleaners, according to court records.
He reportedly did not have a prescription for Viagra, and told investigators he had the items shipped to his Lodi office so that his wife would not know.
Hickox was referred to a San Jose doctor for drug test screening and a fitness evaluation, but never made the appointment, according to Lodi Memorial staff.
He stopped performing medical procedures at Lodi Memorial on Feb. 3, according to court records.
Hickox then transferred to work with Sutter Gould Medical Group in Stockton, according to online state license records. However, there is no record of him in the group's online directory of doctors.
He was licensed in California on Feb. 5, 2003, and his license set to expire on July 31 has been renewed for two years.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.