Richland Physical Therapist Accused of Improperly Touching Patients Attends Hearing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Richland Physical Therapist Accused of Improperly Touching Patients Attends Hearing

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August 27, 2007  1:26 pm

Kennewick --  A Richland physical therapist accused last spring of touching patients was in a Kennewick hearing room Monday.

Rafad Shirinzadeh founded Oasis Physical Therapy in Richland in 1998.  Several of his employees and their relatives came forward to report improprieties, and the State Department of Health temporarily suspended his licence to practice in April 2007. 

Washington State Assistant Attorney General Omar Chaves is representing the State Department of Health during this week's hearing.  And the allegations are being heard before the Board of Physical Therapy. 

Chavez said early Monday that Shirinzadeh is accused of moral turpitude, negligence, boundary issues involving draping (the covering used on patients during treatment), and sexual conduct.   The Heath Department believes it has enough evidence to find Shirinzadeh guilty of unprofessional conduct.  If he is found guilty, Shirinzadeh could lose his license to practice.

Mike O'Donnell, who represents Shirinzadah, said that his client is disturbed over the accusations.

"He's very distraught and upset over what's happened, O'Donnell said.  He added, "Hopefully the public will adhere to the great principle this country is founded upon and that is that everyone is innocent unless proved otherwise."

O'Donnell said he has submitted as evidence as many as 70 letters of recommendation from patients and members of the medical community, and indicated that he has obtained conflicting information concerning the allegations of workers at Oasis Physical Therapy. 

Because of the nature of the case, the media is restricted from releasing the names or pictures of witnesses.  In the hearing room, the witnesses are referred to, not by name, but by letters (b through d).

The hearing is expected to last four days. If found guilty of unprofessional conduct, Shirinzadeh could lose his license.