SEATTLE -

The Washington State Department of Health says it suspended a doctor after discovering he was "sexting" during surgeries.

Investigators say Dr. Arthur Zilberstein "frequently exchanged sexually explicit texts during surgeries" while he was the acting anesthesiologist.

The Medical Quality Assurance Commission also charged Zilberstein with accessing patients' medical images for "sexual gratification." Investigators also believe Dr. Zilberstein had sexual encounters at his workplace.

During its investigation, the commission discovered Zilberstein allegedly made racist remarks about a patient and issued illegal prescriptions for controlled substances.

Dr. Zilberstein cannot practice as a physician in Washington until the investigation is complete. He has 20 days to respond to the charges and request a hearing.