A Broward County doctor is back on the job after hitting a man in the hallway of Memorial West Hospital during a heated disagreement about a patient’s care in June.
But Matthew Coplan, who was struck by the doctor several times, said the video from the hospital’s security cameras shows that Dr. William Sanchez has no business practicing medicine.
Sanchez took a leave of absence after the incident while authorities investigated. Broward County prosecutors have declined to press charges, saying Sanchez was defending himself. Coplan, who was hospitalized for several days after the fight, is considering filing a civil lawsuit.
On June 2, Coplan was acting as a health surrogate for a friend when he got into argument with Sanchez.
“He had terminal cancer. His kidney’s had stopped functioning. He was out of rehab because his dialysis had been working, but then it stopped,” Coplan said.
Coplan and another friend, grew concerned over medication Sanchez had prescribed, but when questioned, Coplan said Sanchez got angry.
“He walked to the door and said, ‘F you’ to me and then he walked out of the door throwing his hand up in the air,” Coplan said.
In the video, Sanchez can be seen walking out and looking exasperated as Coplan followed him. Coplan said was demanding to speak to a supervisor.
That’s when Sanchez turns and wags his finger in Coplan’s face. Sanchez then grabs him by the shirt, shakes him and shoves him backward.
Coplan then swipes at Sanchez, but misses and things turn violent.
“He comes and punches me in the side of the head, and he puts his hands around my throat,” Coplan said.
Coplan then swings his hat at Sanchez. The doctor retaliates with more punches before the two are separated.
Months later, Sanchez is back practicing and Coplan is not happy about it.
“I don’t believe this man should be practicing medicine, I think his license should be taken from him,” Coplan said.
Sanchez’s attorney, Bruce Zimet, said the state attorney’s office chose not to press charges because Sanchez was within his rights to defend himself.
Zimet also described Coplan’s actions as “intolerable conduct” and said Sanchez is back to giving care to others.
Memorial West Hospital said Sanchez is not an employee of the hospital, but he does have privileges to practice there.
“Memorial Healthcare System is committed to providing a safe environment that promotes healing and compassionate care for its patients as well as a safe and collaborative work environment in which physicians and healthcare staff are empowered to advocate and care for patients,” the hospital said in a statement. “We are pleased to learn that the Broward County State Attorney’s office cleared Dr. Sanchez of any criminal charges.”
As for Coplan, he and his attorney say they will be moving forward with charges against Sanchez in civil court.