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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health has suspended the license of a Cranston acupuncturist, 12 News has learned.
Dr. Liansheng Liu is accused of touching two female patients inappropriately during treatment, according to a consent order made public by the Health Department earlier this week.
Patient’s come forward with allegations
The order states that one of the patients went to Liu back in September 2018 to be treated for a possibly pinched nerve in her neck.
The patient explained that during her first three visits, she simply got up and left after her treatment. But on the fourth visit, she claimed Liu asked her to sit up so he could assess her pain.
That is when Liu began inappropriately touching her chest, according to the order. The patient filed a complaint with the Health Department later that month.
The order states that the second patient received treatment from Liu in November 2018 for chronic pain in her lower back that radiated down her inner thigh.
The patient’s first three visits were similar in that she had to take her pants off and Liu asked if he could adjust her underwear so he could insert the needles into her back, according to the order.
During her fourth visit, the patient claimed Liu “…seemed puzzled by where her pain was.”
“She testified that he moved his finger … along her left leg and hip asking where the pain was,” the order reads.
The patient also testified that he “…adjusted her underwear lower than it seemed necessary,” and brushed his hand against her genitals shortly thereafter, according to the order.
The order states that she reported the incident to the Cranston Police Department, though Liu was never charged.
Acupuncturist condemns ‘badly botched’ investigation
Liu testified that he never touched the first patient’s chest inappropriately. He claims he only touched her chest to determine whether her pain was coming from her shoulder or her asthma.
The patient claimed that she had mentioned her asthma on one of the forms she had to fill out prior to treatment, but never actually spoke to Liu about it, according to the order.
Liu also testified that he asked the second patient to pull her underwear down, but he had to adjust it so he could insert the needle.
“He testified that he never put his hands down her underpants and never fondled her genital area,” the order continues.
The Health Department concluded that “…it is not alleging criminal conduct by [Liu] nor is it using the term sexual assault, but rather is alleging unprofessional conduct.”
But Liu argued that the allegations are from five years ago. The order states Liu said “…this was a badly botched investigation with Open Meetings Act violations and that after five years, it should be dismissed.”
Health Department’s findings
The Health Department determined that the issue at hand wasn’t about the Open Meetings Act, but rather whether Liu “…engaged in unprofessional conduct with two patients.”
Liu’s license to practice acupuncture will be suspended until he completes a mental health evaluation as his own expense and fully cooperate with recommendations regarding treatment.
The order said Liu must also complete a six-hour course regarding ethics, draping and boundaries with patients.
Once completed, Liu’s license will be reinstated and he will begin an 18-month probationary period. Throughout that probationary period, the order states he must have a female non-related chaperone present in the room with him while treating female patients.
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