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Palm Coast Friday, Aug. 24, 2018 3 weeks ago

Doctor accused of groping patient agrees to surrender license

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Florence Fruehan has signed a statement agreeing to surrender his license during a hearing in November.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

A doctor accused of groping a patient at a local urgent care center has agreed to surrender his license, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Florence Fruehan, a doctor of osteopathic medicine at Palm Coast Urgent Care and also a member of the East Flagler Mosquito Control District board, had already had his license subjected to an emergency restriction by the DOH after a patient accused him of groping her breasts when she visited the facility in May.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office has also opened an investigation into the case.

Fruehan had initially decided to fight the allegations and have a formal hearing in front of an administrative law judge.

But on Aug. 20, he signed a DOH "voluntary relinquishment of license" form stating that he would turn in his license and waive his right to judicial review.

"Dr. Fruehan has agreed to voluntarily relinquish his license," Department of Health Spokesman Brad Dalton said. "The relinquishment will be become official once he appears before the osteopathic board at their next meeting in November and the final order is filed with the department."

The board will vote at the November meeting on accepting the voluntary license relinquishment.

The emergency license restriction enacted earlier had prohibited Fruehan from interacting with any female patient without another licensed healthcare professional present at all times.

"Dr. Fruehan's continued unrestricted practice as an osteopathic physician constitutes an immediate, serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the citizens of the state of Florida, and this summary procedure is fair under the circumstances to adequately protect the public," a June 29 Florida Department of Health's Order of Emergency Restriction of License document stated.

In the signed relinquishment of license agreement, Fruehan agreed that he would not practice medicine at all between the date of the agreement and his appearance before the board and that he would never reapply for licensure as an osteopathic physician in Florida. 

 

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