Iowa surgeon charged with incompetence, harassment and ethical violations issued a warning

The surgeon, who was once banned from practicing in Iowa due to allegations of professional incompetence, sexual harassment and unethical behavior, has received a warning from the Iowa Medical Board.

In addition to the warning, Dr. Nicholas Kuyper, a Newtonian physician who once practiced general surgery at Grinnell, Waterloo and Carroll, has been licensed on probation.

The board accused Kuiper of several regulatory violations:

Sexual harassment: The council alleged that Kuiper sent sexual text messages to subordinate female colleagues; made inappropriate sexual comments and unwanted sexual harassment towards female colleagues; and engaged in inappropriate touching of subordinate female colleagues.

Indiscriminate Prescribing of Controlled Substances: The council argued that on several occasions Kuiper had prescribed controlled substances to colleagues without first establishing a doctor-patient relationship.

Unethical or unprofessional behavior: The council argued that in February 2020, Kuiper was found guilty of criminal disorderly conduct and driving under the influence in Guthrie County. The conviction came as a result of the arrest in 2019, which also included a charge of running away from the police, which was later dropped. In this case, police claimed that Kuiper drove his Hummer through the gate of a private residence in Panora, drove across the homeowner’s lawn, and then fled the police after being found asleep in his car on Highway 44.

Professional incompetence: The council claims Kuiper showed evidence of professional incompetence while treating “several surgical patients” in 2018. In 2022, a comprehensive competency assessment allegedly identified several areas in which Kuiper needed additional professional education, including advanced trauma resuscitation, robotic surgery, and other areas of general medical knowledge.

To resolve these allegations, Kuiper recently agreed to a warning and a citation that does not come with financial penalties. The settlement requires that he be educated within professional boundaries and enroll in an individual education program to address any areas of educational need identified by the Center for Individual Education for Physicians.

In addition, Kuiper’s license is on probation for five years, during which time it will be overseen by the board of directors. Kuiper agreed to pay the council $200 each quarter to cover monitoring costs.

In March 2020, Kuiper and the board agreed to an order that temporarily barred him from practicing medicine in Iowa due to allegations of incompetence and harassment. In December 2020, he allowed Kuiper to practice medicine under “board-approved conditions” while the case was pending. A recent settlement agreement resolves the matter.

Kuiper has been a defendant in at least five malpractice cases since 2012. In each case, Kuiper denied any wrongdoing.

– In November 2012, Kuiper and Grinnell Medical Center and the State of Iowa were named defendants in a medical malpractice case brought by Jill Todd. Todd dropped her case against Kuiper and the hospital in 2016 without mentioning the settlement in court records. The jury ruled in favor of the state in court.

– In June 2018, Des Moines County’s Jennifer Reid sued Kuiper and Grinnell Regional Medical Center, alleging that the hospital performed a negligent procedure regarding a sleeve gastrectomy, a form of weight loss surgery. In March 2021, Kuiper and others were fired as defendants in the case without mentioning the settlement agreement in the court record. The claim to the hospital remains. A court hearing has been scheduled for January 2024.

– In May 2020, Kuiper and St. Anthony Regional Hospital were named defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by Cindy Kasperbauer of Carroll County, who alleged that Kuiper negligently performed a robotic hernia repair on her at the hospital. A few weeks later, Kasperbauer dropped the lawsuit without mentioning the settlement in the court record.

– Also in May 2020, Lilly Phillips of Black Hawk County sued Kuiper and MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center alleging negligence related to the surgical procedure. The lawsuit was dismissed last year with no mention of a settlement in the court record.

– In November 2020, Hayley Raymond of Green County sued Kuiper and St. Anthony over a robotic hernia repair that she claims was negligent. The case is pending and a hearing has been scheduled for May 15.

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