Appeal from the Order of the State Board of Optometrical Examiners in case of In the Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of the License to Practice Optometry, License No. OEB-3608, issued November 18, 1952, to Robert Chaby, O.D., dated July 15, 1976.
Jerome H. Gerber, with him James L. Cowden, and Handler, Gerber and Weinstock, for petitioner.
Louis B. Rubin, Assistant Attorney General, with him Gerald Gornish, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 552]
Robert Chaby (Appellant), an optometrist licensed by the State Board of Optometrical Examiners (Board), has appealed from the Board's decision suspending his license for 30 days on the grounds of gross incompetency and misrepresentation in violation of Section 9 of the Act of March 30, 1917, P.L. 21, as amended, 63 P.S. § 237, commonly known as the Optometry Act (Act).
The objectionable conduct giving rise to the issuance of a citation against Appellant concerned his alleged failure to treat properly two patients, Ms. Christine Lannutti and Mrs. Mavoureen Weiss, who had engaged him to prescribe and furnish contact lenses in March, 1974. His prescriptions for lenses were filled by Jay Kornblatt, an optician with whom Appellant shares offices, and neither patient saw Appellant after their initial visit. Sometime in late April, Appellant moved his office from Philadelphia to Doylestown, where he continued to practice without Kornblatt.
When Mrs. Weiss picked up her lenses on March 18, Kornblatt showed her how to insert and remove and care for them. Thereafter, she experienced difficulty in removing the left lens and telephoned the office several times and spoke to Kornblatt. She made an appointment for March 26 but, upon arriving at the office, she found it closed. On March 28, she
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 553]
again visited the office and had Kornblatt re-instruct her on removal of the lens. On the evening of April 3, while practicing inserting and removing the lenses, she was unable to remove the left lens, and the eye became bloodshot and puffy. Assuming that Appellant's office was closed, Mrs. Weiss did not attempt to contact him, but went instead to the emergency room at Einstein Hospital where an opthalmologist removed the lens.
On April 15, when Mrs. Weiss and her husband reached Appellant by telephone at home, Appellant offered Mrs. Weiss an appointment; but when the Weisses stated that they were going to complain to the Better Business Bureau and the Board, Appellant withdrew the offer and told the Weisses that he did not want to be bothered with them, and hung up.
Ms. Lannutti, who had worn contact lenses for the preceding five years, picked up her new lenses from Kornblatt on March 8. Several weeks later, her eyes became irritated and she was unable, after repeated attempts, to contact Appellant because his office was closed. She consulted her family physician.
The following week, after Ms. Lannutti was again unsuccessful in her repeated attempts to reach Appellant by telephone, her father went to Appellant's office and found an "out-of-business" sign and a referral telephone number on the door. The telephone number was that of another optician who in turn referred Ms. Lannutti to an opthalmologist for examination. When, after many more phone calls, she finally reached Appellant at his home and told him of her difficulties and her consultations with other physicians, he said, "go to hell," and hung up. Later, however, he offered her an appointment at his new office, but the time ...