Lopez doctor Bob Wilson on probation for unprofessional conduct

Lopez physician Robert Wilson has been placed on probation after being charged with unprofessional conduct and sexual misconduct in his medical practice by the Washington State Department of Health Medical Quality Assurance Commission. Wilson works at Lopez Island Medical Clinic, an Island Hospital clinic.

Faced with the commission's willingness to bring the allegations to a hearing, Wilson instead signed a March 3, 2011 “Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order” placing him under probation for four years, among other stipulations. (To read the document, click "Order" here.)

“This is something medical professionals take very seriously, because without a license they can't practice,” said Gordon McCracken of the state department of health. “There are some pretty strict conditions he has to meet to continue to keep his license.”

Should Wilson violate the probation terms, McCracken said, “there could be action taken against his license ranging from suspension for a certain period of time to revocation.”

Wilson's license has not been suspended or restricted partly due to the recommendations of a Dr. Glen Gabbard at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, to whom Wilson self-referred in response to the charges. Gabbard judged Wilson to be at “very low risk for repeating any kind of serious boundary violation,” but did so without reviewing any materials from the investigative file.

“Respondent has acknowledged his misconduct and expressed remorse,” reads the Agreed Order, which stated that Wilson has cooperated with the investigation.

The charges were initially brought in July 2010 by a former patient whose identity is protected as a whistleblower under RCW 43.70.075.

After examining the charges, the commission concluded that Wilson engaged in “a romantic and sexual relationship with Patient A who suffered from depression and anxiety” from the fall of 2008 into April 2009, created the risk of harm by failing to document medications prescribed for the patient and caused harm to the patient's marriage and to her reputation.

The commission alleges that Wilson violated RCW 13.130.180(1), (4), (6), (7), (12), (20), and (24); and WAC 246-919-630.

The commission's “Findings of Fact” stated that Wilson engaged in a sexual relationship with the patient while continuing a physician-patient relationship with her, and prescribed anti-depressants for her without documenting it.

"I deeply regret the event of two years ago," Wilson told the Sounder. "It was a mistake. I continue to work on becoming a better health care provider and a better person every day.  I sincerely hope we can all move on.  I am very proud of my last 14 years providing excellent medical care and compassion for Lopez Island patients along with the wonderful professional staff at Lopez Island Medical Center. I will continue to serve this wonderful community."

Wilson and the commission mutually agreed to waive a hearing on the matter under the following terms: Wilson will pay a $5,000 fine, be on a probation for four years and be required to undergo psychological evaluation and pass an ethics course. He can practice only at offices having a written policy prohibiting practitioners from having sexual relationships with patients, and requiring a female chaperone to be present at all “sensitive” female exams.

“Island Hospital is aware of the situation and we are monitoring it very closely,” said Island Hospital's chief executive officer Vince Oliver. “Beyond that I have no further comment.”

The agreement must be reported to the Health Integrity and Protection Databank (HIPDB), the Federation of State Medical Board's Physician Data Center and elsewhere as required by law. Click here to conduct a background search on a medical provider with the state department of health.

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