Lowcountry doctor’s license suspended amid police investigation

Local News

Folly Beach, SC – The license of a prominent Lowcountry doctor is now suspended amid a police investigation.

This week, South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, released records to News 2 showing Dr. James Ball’s license has been temporarily suspended.

Folly Beach police launched an investigation this summer into Dr. Ball, a pulmonologist who taught at MUSC and treated patients at Roper, for voyeurism after renters at Dr. Ball’s beach house allegedly busted him watching a renter in the shower. He was allegedly concealed under the house and watching from holes in walls.

“The investigation is still ongoing as there are several pieces of evidence that we are still combing through,” according to SGT. Steve Ortiz, Patrol Ops Sergeant.

When News 2 investigators inquired about his status on August 20, a spokesperson for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) said the license was still active. The newly released records show Dr. Ball’s license was actually suspended in late July. The document was signed by the President of the Board of Medical Examiners on July 29, but only recently made public.

According to police reports obtained by News 2 investigators, Folly Beach police discovered an elaborate viewing area under a beach rental owned by Dr. Ball with holes in the bathroom and bedroom walls. Police detectives found similar viewing areas in a second rental property Dr. Ball owned at the beach.

As for the lapse in transparency about the suspension, a spokesperson for the LLR told News 2: “The Board of Medical Examiners has the authority to issue a temporary suspension when the chairman or vice-chairman of the Board determines that a threat to public health, safety or welfare exists. However, the same law gives the licensee an opportunity to timely appeal that temporary suspension.”

 If the licensee appeals, then the temporary suspension is not public. If the temporary suspension is upheld, then the action becomes public.

“Patients are still protected because although the order is not public, the licensee still cannot practice”, according to LLR.  The temporary suspension also can become public if the licensee decides to drop the appeal. Once a temporary suspension is public, the order will show the original date of the temporary suspension.

Folly Beach police say their investigation is ongoing after they seized multiple computers, along with thumb drives, sim cards and cell phones from the Ball residence this summer.

This isn’t his first suspension. Dr. Ball has practiced medicine in the state since 1987. Records from the South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners revealed in October 2003 Dr. Ball admitted to exposing his genitals to fast food employees while he was waiting in the drive-through multiple times between August 23 and August 30, 2003. He was recording the incidents from the passenger seat by a partially covered camera, according to Board records.   

The records indicate he exposed himself to four employees at the same location. One was a 16-year-old girl.

Dr. Ball began seeing a psychiatrist in September 2003. Later that month, he was arrested for exposing himself.

The Board found that Dr. Ball’s behavior “constituted a serious threat to public health, safety, or welfare,” though no sexual misconduct was reported by his patients.  

His license was suspended by the Board on September 15, 2003.

His attorneys have not responded to requests for comments.

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