Two Connecticut Doctors Lose Licenses In New York State

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Two Connecticut physicians charged with misconduct—in one case, related to sex crimes, the other related to drugs—have lost their right to practice medicine in New York State.

Earlier this month, the New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct permanently revoked the license of Clifford Berken, a Greenwich physician who is a registered sex offender in Connecticut and New York, following his arrest and sentencing in New York State on a first-degree charge of attempting to disseminate indecent material to a minor. The revocation came after Berken in 2009 had agreed to cease practicing medicine in New York, pending a further investigation.

Berken’s Connecticut license elapsed in December 2010 and the state Department of Public Health last June denied his application for reinstatement. That denial came after the Connecticut Medical Examining Board had voted to allow Berken to resume practicing, with restrictions, including a requirement that he be overseen by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Berken pleaded guilty to charges by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office that he had engaged in sexually explicit online conversations with an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old boy. Police said Berken discussed various sex acts on numerous occasions and attempted to meet the “boy” in White Plains, where investigators arrested him.

“Due to his criminal conduct, (Berken) is no longer entitled to the trust which is required of those who practice the medical profession,” the New York board said in its decision. “Although he expressed remorse for his actions, he has only begun the rehabilitative process.”

Also in April, a Berlin psychiatrist accused of recklessly overmedicating patients surrendered his license to practice medicine in New York State, following Connecticut’s decision to revoke his license.

Gerson Sternstein gave up his New York license under an agreement with the New York board, which was acting on the Connecticut charges against him. Connecticut health department records allege that throughout 2009, Sternstein prescribed opiates, benzodiazepines and other addictive substances to patients without properly monitoring their treatment, and that in some cases he prescribed dangerous combinations of drugs or excessive doses. Two patients died of overdoses while under his care.

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