State Journal Register
Springfield psychiatrist suspended for ‘sexually inappropriate’ conduct
By Dean Olsen
January 1, 2015
A Springfield psychiatrist who took over the care of a female patient victimized by “sexually inappropriate” conduct at the hands of another psychiatrist in the same clinic was disciplined by the state this week for sexual misconduct with the patient.
Officials from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued a temporary suspension of the license of Dr. Duttala Obula Reddy, a psychiatrist at Psychiatric Associates of Central Illinois, 1124 S. Sixth St.
For the time being, the state’s action prevents Reddy from continuing to practice medicine legally. Reddy, a 64-year-old Chatham resident, couldn’t be reached for comment, and an office manager at Psychiatric Associates didn’t return a phone call from The State Journal-Register.
According to documents from the state, Reddy began providing psychiatric care and treatment to the woman at Psychiatric Associates in 2013 after her previous psychiatrist, Dr. Krikaparan Puvalai, resigned from the clinic in September 2013.
Puvalai, 58, was suspended from the practice of medicine by the state in October 2013 for engaging “in a pattern of sexually inappropriate conduct with multiple female patients of Psychiatric Associates.” Those patients included the patient whose care was taken over by Reddy, state officials said.
Puvalai, whose license remains suspended, was disciplined for flirting with and inappropriately touching several female patients between 2009 and 2013 while he practiced at Psychiatric Associates and worked as a consulting psychiatrist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ outpatient clinic in Springfield.
Puvalai also was punished in the early 2000s by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, during his psychiatry training in Springfield, for a lack of professional conduct and failure to maintain appropriate boundaries with patients.
Reddy takes over case
After Reddy began serving one of the patients victimized by Puvalai between 2009 and 2013, Reddy prescribed various anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines for the patient from September 2013 to October 2014, state officials said in the documents.
During that time period, state officials said, Reddy and the patient exchanged “multiple emails of a personal nature in violation of appropriate psychiatrist-patient boundaries.”
The pair also “engaged in multiple sexual encounters” at Reddy’s office and at “various locations around the Springfield area,” state officials said.
During that period, the patient attempted suicide several times, officials said.
A Jan. 8 public hearing has been scheduled in Chicago on Reddy’s case. Reddy would be allowed to refute the department’s allegations at that time.
‘Breach of judgment’
This isn’t the first time Reddy has been punished for conduct that allegedly crossed professional boundaries.
His medical license was suspended for six months and put on probation for three years in 2004 in connection with conduct in the early 1990s. The discipline, originally imposed by the state in 1996, was delayed by Reddy’s appeal of the discipline.
The appeal was resolved in late 2002 by a panel from the 4th District of the Illinois Appellate Court, which ruled 3-0 that Reddy deserved the discipline.
In that case, state officials said Reddy treated a woman in 1991 for mental illness until she “fired” him after he told her he was in love with her and could no longer treat her.
In 1992, the woman — apparently not the patient in the 2014 discipline — moved into Reddy’s home and lived with him and his wife and children. Reddy later divorced his wife and married his former patient in May 1992. The marriage was annulled in December 1993.
The appellate court wrote that the Reddy’s “romantic relationship with a patient was a very serious breach of judgment and his professional responsibilities.”