The California Medical Board suspended the license of Dr. Ellis Michael Schwied, a Laguna Niguel-based psychiatrist after he was accused of giving a patient samples of a depression medication without a prescription. Schwied gave a 20-year-old patient’s mother samples of Lexapro and even left them in unmarked brown paper bags on her porch.
Joel Bruce Douglas, Schwied’s attorney said that Schwied was well-respected psychiatrist in the community and there was no malice or ill will just lack of good judgment.
Schwied, who has been licensed to practice since 1982 had his license suspended for 15 days by the board along with being also placed on probation for seven years. the medical board documents reveal that the psychiatrist started dating his patient’s mother in December 2008 within a few days of the first consultation. Schwied told the patient on the first visit that he knew the woman’s mother and asked if she would mind if he dated her mother.
Schwied went on to prescribe the patient Xanax and dispensed some Lexapro samples and saw her again in his capacity as a doctor for a second and final time later in March 2010. But during this 16-month period, he left several Lexapro samples with the patient’s mother while visiting her or picking her up for dates. It is noted that he never issued prescriptions for these medications or documented them in the patient’s chart.
Douglas adds that Schwied did pay attention to the patient and that she did visit the physician in his office several times.
The board blames Schwied of gross negligence and diagnosing the patient with social anxiety and general anxiety disorder without sufficient groundwork and not having in place a treatment plan or scheduling follow-up appointments and most importantly for developing a relationship with the patient’s mother.
This isn’t the first time the board has disciplined Schwied for having contact with his patients outside of work, earlier he was disciplined for striking up a friendship with another patient between 2003 and 2006. Schwied had invited that patient to watch him play the fiddle and having dinner at the patient’s house. Douglas adds that Schwied has made great effort to give importance to keeping the focus on patients and keeping his social life separate.
The board has suspended his license for 15 days and then probation for seven years. There will also be restrictions prohibiting him providing any sort of treatment or care to any female who is eighteen years of age or older or to any new couples involving a female over the age of eighteen, without the presence of a supervising physician assistants.