Doctor accused of trading Botox for sexual favors

By Stephanie Srakocic | Fact-checked by Davi Sherman
Published May 1, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • A UK-based doctor who had appeared on nationally aired morning programs has been accused of exchanging Botox for sexual favors. 

  • A medical review board has ruled against the physician and will meet again later in the month to determine the status of his license.

UK-based physician Oluwafemi “Tijion” Esho, MD, has been accused of engaging in a “sexually motivated,” “improper emotional relationship” with a former patient, identified as “Patient A,” between June 2019 and May 2022. Dr. Esho, now 42, served multiple celebrity clients. He has a popular Instagram page and has been featured on UK morning programs, such as ITV’s “This Morning” and BBC’s “Morning Live.[]  

Dr. Esho reportedly admitted to sending “inappropriate” messages to the patient over Instagram but denied that any physical sexual contact occurred. On April 9, 2024, a review panel ruled against Dr. Esho and his version of events. 

The allegations against Dr. Esho come from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), an independent tribunal service for UK doctors. The MPTS decides doctors’ abilities to practice medicine in the UK. According to MPTS allegations, Dr. Esho had sex with Patient A at his clinic in August 2021 and provided free botox immediately after.[] 

During the April 9, 2024 panel, the panel reviewed evidence of this encounter, including documentation that Dr. Esho told Patient A that he could “get away with giving her Botox in exchange for sexual services.” According to a statement by Patient A, Dr. Esho also acknowledged the ethical violations of his actions, telling her that if anyone found out, he would “be a dead man.”[]

This statement was consistent with messages between the pair obtained by MPTS. MPTS also concluded that a previous sexual encounter had occurred between the two in August 2020. MPTS will meet again in April 2024 to determine whether Dr. Esho will remain licensed as a doctor in the UK. After this additional hearing, Dr. Esho might face license suspension or removal from the UK medical registrar.[] 

Dr. Esho expressed disappointment in the MPTS panel’s ruling and released a statement maintaining his innocence. An April 10, 2024, Instagram statement read, in part,“I have always been clear that whilst my conduct in communicating with Patient A was wrong, I repeat categorically that it never crossed over into any physical sexual contact. Whilst I respect the MPTS and the process, I do not agree with its decision.”[] 

Public scandals and trust in physicians

Trust is at the core of doctor-patient relationships. The American Medical Association (AMA) Journal of Medical Ethics states that criminal violations and other apparent violations of medical ethics erode public trust not only in the accused physician but also in the profession as a whole. 

Writing on this for an AMA policy form article, Herbert Rakatansky, MD, stated, “[M]orally intolerable or illegal behavior outside the medical arena is construed as posing a danger to patients due either to the specific behavior or potential loss of trust in the doctor or the entire profession.”[]

Recent data shows that the current socio-political climate and recent world events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have eroded public trust in physicians. Additionally, when surveyed, physicians overestimated how much their patients trust them. A 2021 survey found that 98% of physicians believed that their patients trusted them, but only 84% of surveyed patients reported trusting their physicians. In this environment, criminal cases and other scandals involving physicians can carry even more weight than they may have in the past.[]

Sexual misconduct and public trust 

The exact number of physicians engaging in sexual misconduct, such as in the case of Dr. Esho, is difficult to estimate. Patients and physicians involved in these encounters are both likely to be hesitant to report them. Across multiple anonymous surveys of United States physicians, 3%–9% of respondents acknowledged past sexual contact with a patient. In an analysis of complaints made to the National Practitioner Data Bank between 2000 and 2019 regarding physician sexual misconduct, researchers found an annual incidence rate of 10.78 reports for every 100,000 licensed physicians in the US.[]

In a 2022 article aiming to address physician sexual misconduct and its effects, the author agreed with the AMA’s stance on the impact that this type of violation can have on trust in all physicians: “[T]he credibility of and trust in physicians, both essential to the provision of medical care, could well erode in the eyes of the public at large. Such an outcome is especially likely if and when egregious cases of physician sexual misconduct are perceived by the public as having gone unpunished.”[]

Share with emailShare to FacebookShare to LinkedInShare to Twitter