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Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)

June 10, 1998 Wednesday TWO&3 EDITION

CABARRUS DOCTOR SUSPENDED, BOARD SAYS

BYLINE: GAIL SMITH, Staff Writer

SECTION: METRO; Pg. 2C

LENGTH: 368 words

DATELINE: CONCORD

A Cabarrus County psychiatrist has been suspended from practice for engaging in inappropriate sexual conversations with two patients, the N.C. Medical Board has announced.
Dr. Anthony Curtis Patterson, 40, of Concord was suspended for six months, effective June 2. The suspension will be lifted after 90 days on the condition that Patterson complies with conditions set in the medical board’s consent order.
Patterson resigned in March from his position with Forest Lake Psychiatry & Counseling, affiliated with NorthEast Medical Center, said Sue Rutland, the hospital’s marketing supervisor.
A woman in Patterson’s new private practice office said he is taking leave until Sept. 1. Efforts to reach Patterson for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
The suspension was prompted by a patient complaint, according to the board’s consent order.
The order says Patterson “admits that he engaged in improper verbal boundary violations with two patients, including inappropriate sexual discussions with two patients.”
Patterson participates in the N.C. Physicians Health Program and has been evaluated by the Behavioral Medicine Institute of Atlanta, the order says. It also says the institute has determined that Patterson can practice psychiatry without threats to the safety of his patients.
In the order, the board set a number of conditions that Patterson must meet, such as continuing counseling with Dr. Gene Abel of the Behavioral Medicine Institute with quarterly progress reports, and completing 50 hours of continuing medical education, including at least 10 hours addressing boundary violations.
If Patterson failed to comply with any of the conditions, it would be grounds for the board to reinstate the six-month suspension “and to annul, suspend, revoke, condition or limit his license to practice medicine or to deny any application he might make for a license to practice medicine,” the order reads.
Patterson was licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina in July 1991.
Rutland said that because of the suspension, Patterson automatically lost his privileges to work at NorthEast Medical Center but can reapply for those privileges after the suspension is over.