The Washington Post
Psychiatrist’s Patient Wins Partial Award
By Victoria Churchville
June 1, 1985
A Montgomery County jury last night found in favor of a Silver Spring woman who had accused her psychiatrist of malpractice for having an affair with her, but slashed by three-quarters the damages awarded her by a state health claims panel.
The jury of nine women and three men, after sitting through an eight-day trial and deliberating nearly six hours, found Dr. Gerald M. Fink, 53, guilty of medical malpractice for his affair with Frances M. Dawson, 44, a former patient.
But the jury, in what the foreman described as “a very, very agonizing decision,” reduced a $274,946 compensatory damage award made to Dawson last summer by a state arbitration panel to $90,000. It awarded no punitive damages; the panel had awarded an additional $100,000 in punitive damages.
Reached by phone minutes after the midnight verdict, Dawson said, “though it hurts inside, at least I can hold my head up. I didn’t have a settlement with the insurance company. At least I might have done something for the next woman” whose psychiatrist has an affair with her…