Board lifts restrictions on Council Bluffs doctor

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Medicine will lift hospital practice restrictions imposed on a Council Bluffs doctor after he met conditions dealing with his behavior toward other medical staffers.

The Daily Nonpareil reported (http://bit.ly/18Z0ozn ) that the board announced Tuesday it would end its restriction against Dr. Ruben Altman, 77, that had prohibited him from practicing in a hospital setting.

The board took the action in June after an investigation of complaints showed Altman had yelled, used profanities and clenched his fists while dealing with nurses and other medical providers.

The board fined Altman $1,000 and, among other sanctions, ordered him to complete a behavioral program and have therapy with a board-approved therapist.

After finding Altman had satisfied the conditions, the board last week ended the restrictions.

Altman denied swearing at medical staffers but acknowledged he does get angry.

“I don’t swear at people,” he said. “I admit I have a temper, but I love medicine. I’m passionate about medicine. I get upset about patient care. I’ve had members of my family who have been hurt by bad care.”

Altman said his prohibition cost him more than $200,000 in legal fees and staff costs, but he was motivated to resolve the matter because of a desire to serve patients. He noted he’d volunteered as a doctor on trips to Guatemala, Panama and Ireland.

All I want to do is give good care,” Altman said. “I love my patients. I’ve tried to take care of my patients. I’ve tried to be available to them 24 hours a day.”

Altman has practiced medicine for 52 years, including nearly 40 in Council Bluffs.

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, http://www.nonpareilonline.com

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