Syracuse psychiatrist accused of having sex with patient loses medical license
By James T. Mulder
January 14, 2020
Dr. Clarence White, 44, was working at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca in 2017 when he entered into an inappropriate relationship with a female patient he was treating, according to the state Board for Professional Medical Conduct.
He asked the patient for her phone number, socialized with her, started a sexual relationship and gave her money to buy merchandise, according to the board.
White did not show up for a Nov. 14 hearing in Syracuse before the board or file a written response to the charges.
He previously worked in Syracuse at St. Joseph’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program and in Ogdensburg at the St. Lawrence Psychiatry Center.
The board sustained these misconduct charges against White: having sexual contact with a patient, moral unfitness, gross negligence and negligence on more than one occasion.
Dr. Andrea M. Lefton, an Albany psychiatrist, told the board in a written opinion White’s relationship with the patient was “extremely inappropriate.”
“ … having a personal relationship with a patient, especially a psychiatric patient, is completely outside of the acceptable standards of care,” Lefton said.
Lefton said White abused his position, betrayed the patient’s trust and put her at risk.
The patient died last year.
The board also heard testimony from a social worker who knew the patient. The social worker said the patient told her about the relationship with White.
The board said in its decision White’s actions show he is “an extreme risk to patients.”
“Physicians must comply with the highest ethical standards, which are of the utmost importance in the field of psychiatry where physicians are working with an inherently vulnerable population,” the board said.