“Tennessee doctor borrowed $300K from a patient, then diagnosed her with dementia”

October 26, 2018 Paul Emile Trudelle Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Health / Medical, In the News, Uncategorized Tags: , , 0 Comments

This is an actual headline from an October 23, 2018 post on “Tennessean”, which is part of the USA Today Network.

Apparently, the doctor borrowed $300,000 some time ago from a long-time patient who was also a friend and the administrator at the doctor’s clinic. When the patient later requested repayment, the doctor diagnosed her with dementia in an apparent attempt to escape the debt. The doctor forwarded the diagnosis to the patient’s daughter, who in turn forwarded the letter to the patient’s financial company. The patient was then denied access to her assets.

The doctor later admitted that the diagnosis of dementia was based solely “on observation”, and that she did not use any testing methods or obtain a second opinion.

A later assessment by a psychologist stated that the patient had no indication of dementia.

As a result of disciplinary action that was brought against her, the doctor voluntarily retired her licence.

In an interview with the Tennessean, the doctor said that she was “set up” by a vindictive patient, and that she retired after state attorneys “presented her with an unwinnable legal case.” The doctor said that she borrowed the money 20 years ago and that she had been making repayments.

The doctor said that the patient did in fact “exhibit erratic behavior and signs of memory loss”. She said that the patient “later misled the psychologist so the dementia diagnosis would not be confirmed.”

What is not clear from the report is how the doctor could have expected to avoid the debt by having the patient declared incapable.  Surely the patient’s daughter or someone else on her behalf could have taken steps to enforce the debt. That is, however, assuming that they knew about it.

A takeaway is to ensure that your legal and financial affairs are in order and are well documented, so that someone can step in and protect your assets and enforce your rights in the event that you are found to be incapable, legitimately or not.

Another takeaway may be to be careful when getting medical assistance in Tennessee. The headline to another story posted October 11, 2018 reads: “This pain clinic nurse gave a patient 51 pills a day. And she kept her licence.” (For the record, the pills consisted of 32 tablets of methadone, 8 Roxicodone, 4 Soma, and 6 Xanax throughout the day, topped off with 1 Ambien.)

 

Have a great weekend.

Paul Trudelle

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