Doctors give, but this one takes it away.
Dr. Suellen Lee, an internal medicine specialist from Tennessee, retired her license after being accused of cheating a longtime patient of her money. Lee reportedly borrowed nearly $300,000 from the elderly patient, but when the patient asked for her to return the money, Lee diagnosed her with dementia, reports the Tennessean.
The patient, who has only been identified as E.W., had been treated by Lee for over 25 years. When another psychologist checked E.W. after Lee’s diagnosis, “no indication of dementia” was found. Government attorneys allege that Lee made the diagnosis purely on an “observation” in an effort to escape the debt she had taken from her longtime patient.
Lee, however, contends that the accusations against her are false and that she is being “set up” by her patient. She said E.W. is angry that she had been diagnosed with dementia and contends that the elderly woman even misled the psychologist who concluded that she was not demented.
“She wanted to hurt me because she was so angry with me because I had said that she was demented,” Lee said.
“It was all lies and I was told that if I fought it would be extremely costly to me. And there would still be no benefit. There was no chance of reversal.”
Tennessee doctor borrowed $300K from a patient, then diagnosed her with dementia https://t.co/4HJkmfQq5C
— Tennessean (@Tennessean) October 24, 2018
Despite her protestations, Lee’s case was brought before the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, which is responsible for disciplining doctors throughout the state. Attorneys said her debt escape plan was to target the elderly woman by diagnosing her with dementia. Following the hearing, the Tennessee doctor agreed to retire her license as the government attorneys presented her with a legal case which was virtually “unwinnable.” Lee still contends that she only retired her medical license because she cannot bear the costs of taking the case to court.
In a phone call with the publication, Lee stood by her comments, saying that the entire thing is a malicious plan by the old woman to get back at her. She said that she took the money from E.W. nearly 20 years ago and has since been paying back the money dutifully in installments. But while Lee maintains her innocence in media interviews, she conceded to the aforementioned facts before the Tennesee Board of Medical Examiners, and even agreed to pay a $2,000 fine and retired her license voluntarily.
Nearly 80 herself, it is perhaps not a bad time for Lee to make that decision.