State suspends psychiatrist Richard T. Adamson for sex with two female patients

April 6, 2011

On March 30, 2011, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) suspended psychiatrist Richard T. Adamson's license to practice, citing charges that he engaged in sex with two female patients.  According to the DOH’s document:
Adamson provided medication management and psychotherapy for “Patient A” from July 2004 to November 2008.  Early in therapy, “A” revealed that she had been sexually abused by her father.
Adamson violated doctor-patient boundaries by providing business consultation services to “A,” herself a family practice physician, from September 2006 until October 2008. 
In mid-November 2008, Adamson and “A” attended a four-day conference in Colorado during which Adamson violated professional boundaries by dining with “A” and sharing personal information with her about his wife’s suicide and by kissing her in his office on their return from the conference.
On November 21, 2008, Adamson and “A” met at his office for a final psychotherapy session during which he encouraged “A” to seek treatment with someone else, then engaged in sexual intercourse with “A.”
From December 2008 to June 2009, “A” frequently met Adamson at his office and they would have sex.  “A” left her husband and moved into an apartment, where Adamson also engaged in sex with “A.” 
The sexual relationship between Adamson and “A” ended sometime in June 2009 after Adamson told “A” that during their relationship he had been obsessed with another younger married woman and had engaged in “phone sex” and “instant messaging sex” with her. 
Adamson treated “Patient B” on and off between September 1989 and January 2010.  The DOH’s document alleges:
In April or May 2009, Adamson disclosed to “A” that “B,” who had been the appointment before hers, had been talking about her in therapy, had a crush on her and wanted to ask her out.
In April or May 2009, “B” met “A” in the waiting room of Adamson’s office.  “B” developed a friendship with “A” and they saw one another socially until approximately November 2009.  In September 2009, “B” told Adamson that “A” had indicated she did not want to pursue a dating relationship with him.  “A” also told “B” that she had romantic feelings for another man whom she described as unrequited love interest.
Adamson violated doctor-patient boundaries when he (1) communicated to “B” that “A” was his patient and that he had a romantic relationship with her, (2) shared aspects of his personal life with “B” and (3) communicated to “A” information about the contents of his session with “B.”
Source: Statement of Charges in the Matter of the License to Practice as a Physician and Surgeon of Richard T. Adamson, M.D., License No. MD00019594, Case No. M2010-287, State of Washington Department of Health and "Seattle psychiatrist's license immediately suspended," press release of Washington State Department of Health, March 30, 2011.


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