Medical board charges psychiatrist Ananth Shanmugan with negligence; attempted romantic relationship with patient

November 10, 2011

On October 3, 2011, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against psychiatrist Ananth Shanmugam for gross negligence and repeated negligent acts for attempting to establish a romantic relationship with a patient.

Shanmugam was patient J.V.’s psychiatrist from March to May 2010. J.V. was referred to Wellness Recovery Center (WRC) following a panic attack after which she fainted. Shanmugam was a contractor providing medication support services at WRC. During the time she received treatment from Shanmugam, J.V. was also receiving psychotherapy from another WRC practitioner.

J.V. had a history of childhood sexual abuse.

In addition to medication services, Shanmugam also engaged J.V. in therapy, which she described as “just talking” on the topics of “how she was doing and feeling; how her medications were affecting her; her sex life and she could do to make sex better; and about her relationship with her husband.”

J.V. and Shanmugan exchanged cell phone numbers.

Shanmugan sent J.V. messages which turned increasingly person and inappropriate. J.V.’s cellphone records showed that 273 text messages were exchanged between them over a three-week period. Some of the messages explicitly expressed his attraction to her: “I really dig u,” “Relax honey, I think I have fallen in love with u,” “my love is unconditional,” and “I am 47 and have not felt this way about a woman for 11 years.” J.V. experienced upset and betrayal at these messages, which she showed to her psychotherapist.

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against Anath Shanmugam, M.D., Physician and Surgeon's License No. A90579, Case No. 02-2010-207174, Medical Board of California.


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