Maryland neurosurgeon's license suspended over alleged misconduct

Carly Behm -  

The Maryland State Board of Physicians has suspended the license of a neurosurgeon who practiced in Harford County over multiple sexual harassment complaints.

Hugo Benalcazar, MD, was handed the suspension July 2, according to the state board's website.

Investigators received the first complaint about Dr. Benalcazar on Sept. 3, 2020, according to the license suspension order from the board. Eleven individuals, including staff members, described alleged incidents witnessing or experiencing verbal and physical sexual harassment from Dr. Benalcazar.

According to one statement cited in the suspension order, a nurse technologist said she saw Dr. Benalcazar hit an anesthetized patient who was on the operating table while making "inappropriate" comments about the patient's body.

Dr. Benalcazar denied the allegations under oath in a May 21 interview with the board.

The board ordered the summary suspension of Dr. Benalcazar's license.

"The Board's investigation determined that for a period of several years, [Dr. Benalcazar] engaged in a pattern of unprofessional conduct that included, but was not limited to, sexual harassment of hospital staff, both verbal and physical, sexual propositioning, and unconsented-to physical contact of at least one patient," the suspension order said. "[His] conduct proceeded largely unchecked over a period of time due in-part to staff members' perceptions that any complaints about his conduct would not be acted upon at the organizational level."

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