Doctor sold exam questions on eBay

The Florida surgeon has agreed to pay $36,000 in restitution.

By Damon Adams — Posted June 20, 2005

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A Florida physician who sold questions from the American Board of Surgery exam on eBay wants the board to reconsider its decision to revoke his board certification.

Craig Edward Amshel, MD, a surgeon in St. Augustine, Fla., failed the board's exam in 2002. At the time, board policy allowed doctors who failed the exam to review their test performance. The policy said no notes of any kind could be taken.

Dr. Amshel was allowed to review his test results at the board's Philadelphia office, court records show. He was alone in a conference room for four to five hours.

He later passed the 2003 test.

In August 2004, under the title "General Surgery Board Exam Review Questions," he sold 86 questions from the 290-question multiple choice exam through a friend on eBay, according to court records and his attorney. The board found out about the eBay offer and sued Dr. Amshel, claiming copyright violation.

In April, the case was settled. Dr. Amshel admitted taking notes of questions and answers while reviewing his exam. He will pay the board $36,000 -- $600 a month for five years. He also agreed to turn over his notes. "He's sorry for what he did," said David Dearden, of Wayne, Pa., the doctor's attorney.

Dearden said Dr. Amshel sold two or three sets of the questions. "He acknowledged that he violated a copyright of the ABS. He paid every penny that they asked for in terms of damages," he said.

The board no longer makes it possible for people to review their tests, said Frank Lewis Jr., MD, the board's executive director.

Dr. Lewis would not discuss details of the case because Dr. Amshel is appealing the board's revocation of his certification. He said the board would consider the appeal June 28.

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