State board disciplines University of Texas psychiatrist Graham Emslie over patient suicide

October 17, 2017

On August 25, 2017, the Texas Medical Board ("Board") reprimanded Texas psychiatrist Graham Emslie breaching the medical standard of care. The Board found that Emslie prescribed controlled substances and other prescription drugs a an adult patient (the brother of an acquaintance of Emslie's daughter) for 17 years without appropriate evaluation, monitoring, and medical record-keeping.

The patient committed suicide. 

When asked to produce the treatment records for the deceased patient, Emslie was unable to produce any, as he had not kept any records for the patient, save for some scant records he'd scribbled on a notepad starting in 2006. The Board was also found that Emslie regularly remotely prescribed benzodiazepines and amphetamines over the telephone without physically examining the patient. 

Emslie, who is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwest, also assisted the patient with "pharmacy shopping," helping to find pharmacies to fill his prescriptions when the usual pharmacy refused to. Though Emslie was aware that the patient's history included a "drinking problem," he never referred the patient to an addiction specialist. There is no evidence that Emslie adequately informed the patient regarding the possible adverse drug reactions associated with  prescription drugs and alcohol.

The Board's document states that Emslie "maintained that his medical management of the patient was appropriate" and noted that Emslie's attitude is indicative of "increased potential harm to the public." 

Source: Agreed Order In the Matter of the License of Graham J. Emslie, Before the Texas Medical Board, August 25, 2017.


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