Silverdale pediatrician denies misconduct
By LESLIE KELLY
Bremerton Patriot Editor
March 14, 2013 · 12:30 PM
Longtime children’s doctor Saad Al-Agba, who has been charged with sexual misconduct by a state panel, says that there is no truth to the claim by a former patient’s mother.
“The truth is I didn’t do this,” Al-Agba said in an interview. “When all is said and done, that will be shown.”
Saad Al-Agba, 76, has practiced medicine in Silverdale for 43 years. He currently operates Silverdale Pediatrics on Levin Road with his daughter, Niran Al-Agba, who is also a pediatrician.
He was charged in February by the State Department of Health’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission after a woman filed a complaint with the state claiming that Dr. Al-Agba inappropriately kissed her on the mouth during an appointment when the doctor was caring for her daughter.
The patient’s mother said the incident happened in February 2012.
The complaint also states that the mother, who is not identified by name, said Al-Agba came to her home unannounced with a gift for her daughter. During that visit, she said the doctor inappropriately touched her hair and back.
Following that, the woman, who Al-Agba described as in her 40s, stopped having Al-Agba as her child’s doctor.
Al-Agba said the woman and her daughter had been at the clinic in February 2012, but that the incident, as described, never happened.
“The (exam room) door was opened,” he said. “The clinic manager, who is also my wife, was just right outside the door and could hear the entire conversation. The conversation was shared by me, my wife, the mother and the patient and nothing happened.”
Al-Agba said he did take a gift to the child at the residence the child shares with her mother, but it was an expected simple gesture.
He said he travels out of the country often and brings back small gifts for some of his patients. He also has given lunch money to patients when they have told him that they don’t have it.
“We were going to Mexico and when I told them that, when they were in the office, the little girl asked ‘Will you bring me back a hat?” Al-Agba said. “My wife came in the room and asked the girl, ‘What kind of hat?’ “
Al-Agba said the girl said any kind of hat would do and that they agreed to bring her the hat. But after they returned from Mexico, the mother hadn’t come in with her daughter to the office to get the hat, so Al-Agba decided to drop it off at their house on his way home.
“That day, in the office, when we spoke about the hat, she gave me directions to her house and said it would be okay to drop it off,” he said. “So I told my wife I was just going to drop it off.”
He said the girl tried on the hat and so did the mother and they “both said they liked it.” Because there were two large dogs in the home, and the doctor fears large dogs, he didn’t want to go in. But the mother kept the dogs behind the couch, and he stepped inside.
“I was there maybe four or five minutes,” he said. “When I left everybody was happy and I was pleased that they were happy (with the hat).”
Al-Agba said he was notified of the woman’s complaint about six months ago when an investigator from the state came to “take my side of the story.”
“I thought it had been dropped,” he said, because so much time had passed.
A hearing on the matter has not been set. Meanwhile, Al-Agba can continue to practice. Once a date is set, the doctor and the panel could explore a settlement option. The case could be dismissed or sanctions ranging from probation with conditions to the doctor losing his license could be imposed.
There are no previous sanctions against Al-Agba in Washington state.
“This is very upsetting to me,” he said. “But I did nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide.”
The Al-Agba family is well-known in the Silverdale area where his sons Laith and Jamil were prep tennis players and graduates of Olympic High School. Laith died in 2007 in a fall from a roof in Seattle at age 26. Jamil played tennis for the University of Southern California.
Saad Al-Agba spent his early life in Turkey and Iraq. He graduated from the University of Baghdad College of Medicine. He had an internship and a residency in the U.S. and had a fellowship at the University of Washington Medical Center. Following that he worked for The Doctors Clinic for 17 years before opening his own clinic in 1986.
Contact Bremerton Patriot Editor Leslie Kelly at email@example.com or 360-308-9161 x5050.