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Medical malpractice: Psychiatrist accused of trading sex for drugs

Doctors, particularly therapists such as psychiatrists, hold tremendous sway over their patients in Pitt County and throughout the state. Often, individuals reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings in these settings. Due to the highly charged personal nature of the relationships, occasionally we hear of a case that appears to fall far below an acceptable standard of medical care. One North Carolina medical malpractice case involves claims of physical, sexual and drug abuse. The doctor, who surrendered his North Carolina medical license in 2009, is now on the wrong end of a medical malpractice lawsuit in Gaston County.

A South Carolina woman says she became the patient of the doctor in 2007 and that he continued to treat her after he moved to North Carolina in 2008. Therapy sessions were said to last between 15 and 45 minutes, though it is claimed the doctor spent most of the time discussing sex and seeking to trade drugs for sexual services. He is accused of repeatedly inviting the woman to his home, where he gave her Valium, Xanax and alcohol. He is also said to have engaged in rough foreplay with the woman, cutting her lip as well as kicking and hitting her. Additionally, he gave the woman four prescriptions for Ritalin within a four month period, told her to fill them in South Carolina and return to North Carolina to split the pills with the doctor.

In May of 2009 the King's Mountain Police Department investigated the doctor for drug diversion. During the investigation he is said to have admitted he "snuggled" with his patient while she slept at his house and says she cut her lip due to a kitchen accident. It appears the doctor surrendered his license as a result of the police investigation.

In addition to suing the doctor, the woman's lawsuit names two North Carolina hospitals as well as Carolina Forensic Psychiatry as defendants. While it remains to be seen what the result of the litigation will be, it underscores both the need to be careful as well as the need to consult an attorney when medical malpractice is suspected. A Pitt County attorney may help in reviewing the facts and circumstances, preserving important evidence and fighting for full accountability for negligent and sometimes reckless conduct.

Source: The Courthouse News Service, "Patient Says Doc Demanded Sex for Drugs," Iulia Filip, Oct. 11, 2011

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