Medical Board Puts N. CA Psychiatrist Nathan Thuma on Probation for Excessive Prescribing, Incompetence

November 20, 2019

A northern California doctor has been placed on four years’ probation after he did not contest accusations of unprofessional conduct, incompetence, negligence, excessive prescribing and other charges, according to the Medical Board of California.

Nathan H. Thuma, MD, of St. Helena, works as a psychiatrist. According to a Nov. 8 order from the Medical Board of California, Thuma is also prohibited from supervising physician assistants and advanced practice nurses.

The accusations include care of five patients during 1998 to 2016. Between the five, they were prescribed drugs including Vicodin, OxyContin, Suboxone, Xanax, Klonopin, Zoloft, Tylenol with codeine and others.

With some of those five patients, Thuma reportedly failed to perform a complete psychiatric history and assessment, document a clear treatment plan, perform risk assessments and keep adequate medical records, according to the Medical Board.

Thuma was also accused of prescribing controlled substances to an addict “without consideration and monitoring” and other charges.

One of those patients died as a result of acute alcohol intoxication and with controlled substances in her system, said the report.

In a statement to the Register, Thuma said:

“I disputed the allegations and make no admission of wrong doing. My medical license remains active and I will continue to provide excellent care to all of my patients.”

The accusation was first filed by the Medical Board of California in May 2017.

According to the Medical Board’s, Thuma attended medical school at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The state board issued his physician’s and surgeon’s certificate in 1986.

The Medical Board of California oversees doctors’ licenses in the state, including the more than 400 medical doctors in Napa County.

Psychcrime additional note: On November 17, 2008, a Sacramento, CA Superior Court Judge openied that Thuma "clearly committed perjury" in his court, relative to Thuma's testimony given in an attempt to gain a patient's release from a state psychiatric hospital. The patient, Ronald Toppila, had been found not guilty by reason of insanity and housed at Napa State Hospital in 2004 for murdering his mother. The judge lashed out at Thuma for recommending that that Toppila be released into community treatment after having examined him for less than half an hour. Further, the judge found Thuma to have demonstrated "a total lack of independence and judgment" and found that his demeanor and manner in court "could onlly be described as horrifying." 

Source: “St. Helena psychiatrist placed on probation,” Napa News, November 15, 2019. URL: and 


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