Maryland Physician Faces License Suspension over Relationship with Employee/Patient

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 03, 2023 | 0 Comments

The sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship is one that most state licensing boards seek to protect fiercely. Case in point: a Maryland doctor recently had his license temporarily suspended over a consensual sexual relationship with an employee whom he had also treated as a patient--even though he self-reported the relationship to the medical board.

According to reports, Walter Gianelle, who owns multiple Your Doc's In urgent care locations in Maryland, was found guilty in November by the Maryland Board of Physicians over "moral and unprofessional in the conduct of medicine based." Although records state that the doctor's relationship with the individual was "completely intertwined with both her medical care and her employment in his medical practice," the primary issue appears to be the fact that the two-year sexual relationship apparently occurred while the other party was a patient of Gianelle's. (A sexual relationship between a health care professional and their current patient is a severe violation of state regulations.)

Gianelle had contended that she had not been a "continuing patient" of his because urgent care doctors don't have ongoing patient relationships. However, the administrative law judge rejected this argument on the grounds that the individual had been diagnosed with a serious ongoing condition and had been treated by Gianelle at least six times, including both before the relationship began and after it ended.

The penalties assessed to Gianelle were as follows:

  • A 30-day suspension of his medical license, after which he may apply for reinstatement;
  • A probationary period of at least three years; and
  • A $15,000 fine.

Why Didn't the Physician Lose His License?

In many cases, an inappropriate sexual relationship between doctor and patient would be grounds for permanent revocation of the doctor's license to practice. Of particular interest is the fact that, in this case, the Board's penalties were relatively lenient, allowing the doctor to resume practicing medicine in as little as 30 days. While we're not privy to the Board's deliberations, let's discuss what may have been some mitigating factors in this case:

  • The physician self-reported the relationship, albeit after the fact. Gianelle reportedly acknowledged that their relationship had continued over a two-year period before it ended in 2017, although he denied that she was officially a "patient."
  • Records note that Gianelli was cooperative with the Board throughout the investigation. Cooperating with the licensing board in disciplinary proceedings often goes a long way toward leniency.
  • Gianelli had no prior history of misconduct. This may also have played a role in the Board's decision.

How a License Defense Attorney Can Help

An experienced professional license defense attorney can often negotiate with licensing boards and provide evidence of mitigating factors to reduce potential sanctions.

The issue of sexual relationships between doctors and patients is a serious one, and if you are accused of such (even if the allegations are false), the results could be career-ending without the help of an experienced attorney. If you're facing disciplinary action by a medical board in New Jersey or New York, attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team can help.

Contact the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team today at 888-535-3686 to learn more.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.