Medical board files accusation against psychiatrist Stephen M. Raffle

July 28, 2011

On July 14, 2011, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against psychiatrist Stephen Merritt Raffle for unprofessional conduct, excessive treatment, failure to maintain adequate records, repeated negligent acts and gross negligence.

The Board’s document states that in or around 1978, Raffle counseled a then-25-year-old patient relative to the death of the patient’s father and an ensuing probate dispute with his uncle over the deceased father’s estate. When the therapy was concluded (also in or around 1978), Raffle invited the patient to continue therapy in order to discuss Raffle’s financial advice for him, to help him “get ahead.”

The patient continued seeing Raffle for the next 30 years, until 2008.

The “therapy” consisted mainly of discussions about real estate. In or around 1998, Raffle helped the patient set up a business by helping him draft documents to be used in the business and recommending a direct mail business plan to the patient. In or around 2004, the patient purchased an apartment building with five units with the purpose of living in one unit and living off the rental income. Raffle advised the patient to convert the property to condominiums for sale and advised him on loans and legal counsel. The patient followed his advice but ran out of funds before the project could be completed and could not get another loan. Raffle recommended that the patient sign the property over to him, who would then rent one of the condo units to the patient. The patient declined and discontinued therapy. 

All of these interactions took place during therapy sessions.

Between 2004 and 2008, Raffle did not create or maintain patient records; failed to discontinue therapy with the patient in the absence of demonstrated psychoanalytical results and engaged in boundary violations when he discussed his own business and real estate knowledge and experience and referring the patient to lawyers and lenders. 

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against Stephen Merritt Raffle, M.D., License No. G 16478, Case No. 03-2009-198781, Medical Board of California.


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