A Minnesota AA and doctor is in a bit of hot water for violating her ethical responsibilities, and seducing one of her patients. Ann Friedmann, an obstetrician and gynecologist, put a unique spin on 13th stepping. She befriended and began treating another AA with a history of psychological problems, became her sponsor, and set forth on a sexual relationship for the next several months. Her argument was interesting…and typical:
Friedmann denied wrongdoing, arguing that the patient initiated the sexual relationship, and that their professional relationship ended four days later in September 2005.
But the board found that Friedmann violated her legal and ethical duties to maintain professional boundaries, and that she had blurred the lines for months by taking overnight trips with her patient.
Friedmann, who worked at the Women’s Health Center in Northfield, did not dispute the facts: She began treating the patient in January 2005, after they met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. The patient, a 39-year-old woman with “a complex medical and psychiatric history,” asked Friedmann to become her AA sponsor that April, and for a month, Friedmann agreed.
First, she held true to the AA script by reminding the patient/sponsee of “her part” in the abuse, and then minimized her abuse as a physician by claiming the professional relationship ended within a few days. What she or this article does not mention is the fact that she continued in her role as an AA sponsor to manipulate the very person who she was supposed to be counseling. Nobody from AA will speak out about this, and she will not be held accountable for her manipulation of her sponsee. Unlike the medical board, there is no oversight. It will be business as usual in the separate universe of AA.
In a second case, the board suspended another physician for failing a required drug test. Maybe she should give Dr. Friedmann a call, and join her group. She has an open slot for a new sponsee.