Board Disciplines Psychiatrist Douglas P. Murphy for Treatment Failures; Second Patient Suicide

October 12, 2018

On September 11, 2018, the Medical Board of California placed the medical license of psychiatrist Douglas Murphy on probation for three years, with terms and conditions, for incompetence and/or repeated negligent acts in his care of a patient.

The Board found that Murphy failed in his treatment of the patient in numerous ways:

  • Failed to conduct and/or document complaint mental status examinations
  • Failed to conduct and/or document an assessment for alcohol or drug use
  • Failed to conduct and/or document an assessment for access to/possession of weapons
  • Failed to obtain and/or document a refer to or consultation with a sleep specialist or clinic to assess other possible causes of the patient’s chronic insomnia
  • Failed to provide follow-up in a timely manner
  • Failed to coordinate treatment with the patient’s other health care providers
  • Medical records contain scant information and are insufficient to support the diagnoses that Murphy rendered.

The Board’s document states that at the last treatment visit, the patient was taking five psychotropic drugs that Murphy prescribed. Murphy changed one of the drugs and changed the dosing for another and told the patient to follow up in six months. The patient committed suicide five months later. The Board’s document notes that the standard of care necessitates that a patient taking five psychiatric medications with changes in medication return for a follow-up visit sooner than six months.

Murphy was placed on probation once before, in 2007, for treatment failures which include a teenage patient who committed suicide. In that case, Murphy failed to intervene and/or document his efforts in a timely manner when informed by the patient's father of the patient's suicidal ideation. 

Source: Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order (Case Nos. 08-2004-158376 and 800-2014-003156) in the Matter of the Accusation Against Douglas Peter Murphy, M.D., License No. A65282, Medical Board of California, October 5, 2007 and September 11, 2018.


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