Health & Medicine

SLO doctor under investigation for alleged sexual relationship with patient in Washington

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A San Luis Obispo doctor has been charged with unprofessional conduct in Washington state and was fired from his job there for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a patient he was treating for breast cancer.

Andrew L. Kominsky admitted to having had feelings for the patient and acknowledged that he should have ended their relationship, according to a March 30 statement of charges from the Washington state Medical Quality Assurance Commission. He worked for PeaceHealth Medical Group in Washington from 2008 to 2016.

Kominsky has been licensed by the California Medical Board since September 2016 and now works at San Luis Obispo Oncology & Hematology Health Center, part of the Dignity Health network.

According to the charges in Washington, Kominsky was the primary oncologist for the woman from 2011 — she was 28 years old when she was diagnosed that year — until she entered hospice after a relapse in late 2015. She died in April 2016.

Shortly after, the person serving as her durable power of attorney reported to the hospital that Kominsky and his patient had a “long-term sexual relationship.” PeaceHealth, which also owns St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham, obtained text and voicemail messages from the woman’s phone.

“The hospital conducted an investigation and concluded that it was clearly evident that the relationship … was of a sexual nature,” according to the state.

PeaceHealth fired Kominsky on May 10, 2016.

On Friday, a woman who answered the phone at the San Luis Obispo oncology center said Kominsky was out of town and wouldn’t be available until next week.

Dignity Health spokeswoman Megan Maloney declined to comment late Friday, saying she didn’t have any facts in the case.

California Medical Board spokeswoman Cassandra Hockenson said the licensing agency was unaware of any investigation underway in Washington concerning Kominsky.

“If he’s being disciplined in another state they will go through their process and then will notify us,” Hockenson said. “We will take appropriate action if necessary.”

Kominsky allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with the patient in Washington from early 2014 to March 2016. They exchanged “text messages that were flirtatious, sexually suggestive and sexually explicit,” according to the statement of charges.

The state concluded: “The oncologist-patient relationship is one where the patient is exceptionally vulnerable. Respondent’s (Kominsky) conduct is an egregious example of a physician taking advantage of a vulnerable patient whom he was treating for a life-threatening condition.”

The state hadn’t received his response to its charges as of Friday. Kominsky’s license in Washington state expires Sept. 10.

This story was written by The Bellingham Herald, a Tribune sister paper. The Tribune contributed to this report.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea