Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas psychiatrist reprimanded for unprofessional behavior
By Mary Hynes
October 14, 2019
The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners has publicly reprimanded a Las Vegas psychiatrist for failing to redirect a female patient “away from his personal and physical space” when she began to touch him inappropriately.
A complaint filed by the medical board in May 2019 against Dr. Matthew Okeke states that a patient in December 2017 used her smartphone to videotape an encounter with the psychiatrist without his consent during an office visit. The video, recorded as the cellphone lay on the doctor’s desk, shows her “rubbing Respondent’s arm, then later rubbing his back, and, eventually attempting to touch Respondent’s groin area.” “Respondent” refers to Okeke, the subject of the complaint.
The complaint, which does not name the patient, continues, “At no time during this interaction did the Respondent redirect (the patient) away from his personal and physical space. There was no therapeutic interpretation or confrontation by the Respondent regarding (the patient’s) comments or behavior during this patient encounter,” a conclusion reached by an independent medical expert who interviewed and evaluated Okeke and reviewed records, including the video.
Neither Okeke nor his attorney responded to requests for comment.
According to the complaint, in May 2018 the doctor and the patient entered into an agreement that “appears to be a legal document” that the patient refrain from “filing, or assisting any other individual from filing, lawsuits, administrative actions or complaints” against the doctor in return for payments of $29,000 from February 2018 until May of that year.
Okeke treated the patient from August 2015 — when he diagnosed her with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety — until January 2018, according to the complaint.
The board found that Okeke had “failed to use the reasonable care, skill, or knowledge ordinarily used under similar circumstances when he provided medical care” to the patient, which constitutes malpractice.
The board also found that Okeke had failed to maintain proper medical records in connection with this patient and one other patient.
Okeke is the owner of Grand Desert Psychiatric Services, a psychiatric clinic in Las Vegas.
In a settlement agreement approved by the medical board in September, the board suspended for two years Okeke’s license to practice medicine in Nevada but stayed the suspension and placed the license on probation for 24 months, subject to conditions.
These conditions include that he “must be supervised at all times during any and all interactions with female patients, with a formal monitoring agreement with approved and identified monitors.” The conditions also include that he pay a $500 fine and reimburse the board for its fees and costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The board through its president, Dr. Rachakonda D. Prabhu, issued a public reprimand, which states in part, “it is my unpleasant duty as president of the board to formally and publicly reprimand you for your conduct which has brought professional disrespect upon you and which reflects unfavorably upon the medical profession as a whole.”
Edward Cousineau, the medical board’s executive director, said he was limited in terms of what he could say about the complaint and its settlement, adding, “The record speaks for itself.”