Palm Coast Urgent Care doctor investigated on allegations of inappropriate behavior

Dr. Florence Fruehan's medical license suspended during investigation

PALM COAST, Fla. – A Flagler County urgent care physician is accused of inappropriately touching a female patient, resulting in the emergency suspension of his medical license.

According to a Florida Department of Health affidavit, Dr. Florence Fruehan is accused of groping a patient's breasts during a visit to Palm Coast Urgent Care in May.

The report said the patient made an appointment to get a refill on a prescription.

"As Dr. Fruehan walked (the patient) to the front desk to check out, he asked (the patient) how long she had been married," the report reads. "(The patient) informed Dr. Fruehan she was a widow."

The report said Fruehan then told the patient she was due for a mammogram.

"Dr. Fruehan led (the patient) into an examination room. In the examination room, Dr. Fruehan groped (the patient's) breasts through her blouse and bra. After Dr. Fruehan grabbed (the patient's) breasts, he told her that he was sorry her husband died, and left the examination room," the report said.

According to the report, she called the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

"There's a very fine line between what is criminal behavior and what is unethical behavior," said Chief Mark Strobridge with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Strobridge said his team is now investigating to see if anything criminal happened.

"We've had another individual who came forward who indicated an incident where they have been touched inappropriately as well," Strobridge said.

According to the sheriff's office, Fruehan had a run-in with authorities in 2006, when a patient alleged that he examined her inappropriately, but the sexual battery charges were eventually dropped.

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said his deputies are taking the investigation very seriously.

"This is a nightmare for any patient and the allegations are very serious," Staly said. "The Flagler County Sheriff's Office is actively investigating the allegations against Dr. Fruehan."

As a result of the investigation, the FDOH has placed an emergency restriction order against Fruehan effective immediately, the sheriff's office said.

The restriction order prevents Fruehan from treating or interacting with any female patients without being accompanied by another health care professional currently in possession of a clear and active license with the FDOH, officials said.

News 6 found out Fruehan is not only a doctor but also a government official. He was elected in 2016 to the Flagler County Mosquito Control Board.

News 6 emailed Fruehan, messaged him on his Facebook page and called several phone numbers, but he was not able to be reached for a comment on the allegations.

Strobridge said they are still investigating the incidents, and they are also looking to see if any other patients have concerns. He said they will be bringing what they find to the Office of the State Attorney to decide whether to pursue charges or not.

Investigators are asking any patient who feels they may have had an inappropriate experience with Fruehan to file a formal complaint by calling 386-313-4911.

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