Doctor who dated patient put on probation
A Walla Walla physician has been placed on probation after agreeing he committed unprofessional conduct.
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
WALLA WALLA — A Walla Walla physician has been placed on probation after agreeing he committed unprofessional conduct.
Dr. Dale Fetroe, of Family Practice Associates, was charged earlier this year by the Washington state Department of Health for having a sexual relationship with a patient and for prescribing medication to her family members without an exam and without keeping a medical chart.
In the charging document, the state said Fetroe began treating a female patient in September 2007 and entered into a social and dating relationship with her the following January.
During the relationship, the physician diagnosed and treated two of the patient's family members, once without seeing the person. Fetroe also sent medication samples by mail and kept no chart of his actions.
The doctor terminated the physician-patient relationship with the woman in November.
Fetroe will be placed on professional probation for five years and must undergo a psychological evaluation.
He must provide statements to female patients of a written office policy that bans his participation in social or personal relationships with patients. He can't meet with female patients outside his office except in emergency or home-care situations.
In an e-mail to the Union-Bulletin, Fetroe wrote: "This was a relationship, outside of the office setting, between two single, consenting adults. The original allegations that came after I terminated the relationship were much more colorful, and I am grateful to the state in determining what was factual.
"The bottom line is that I broke the rules by dating a patient (and not keeping a medical chart documenting the assistance that I gave her son and sister) and I am fully accountable for this regrettable mistake."
The state considered mitigating factors, including Fetroe's 28 years of practice with no prior disciplinary action or evidence of similar relationships. Evidence did not suggest the female patient expressed increased vulnerability or incapacity. Fetroe also fully admitted key facts, and was remorseful and willing to address his misconduct.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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