State Seeks to Revoke License of San Diego Psychiatrist Nathan Kuemmerle for Alcohol-Related Conviction; Has 2013 Federal Drug Conviction

September 17, 2021

On August 25, 2021, the Medical Board of California (“Board”) issued an Accusation against Del Mar (San Diego, CA) psychiatrist Nathan Kuemmerle, charging him with excessive use of alcohol, conviction of an offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a physician and surgeon, and unprofessional conduct. These charges stem from a drunk driving-related conviction.

The Board also charged him with gross negligence related to having rendered a psychiatric diagnosis of someone involved in a legal proceeding who was not his patient and from whom he did not obtain consent.

The details of Kuemmerle’s arrest, conviction, and Board investigation are below.

With this Accusation, the Board is seeking to revoke, suspend, or otherwise take disciplinary action against Kuemmerle’s medical license.

Previous criminal & disciplinary actions

On January 27, 2011, Kuemmerle was convicted in federal court of distribution of a controlled substance. Kuemmerle admitted that he knowingly distributed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice.

According to the Board’s documents, Kuemmerle, who at that time practiced in West Hollywood, CA, wrote prescriptions for Adderall and other controlled substances for individuals who were not his patients and for no actual medical reason. These people then filled the prescriptions and sold the drugs on the street.

Kuemmerle was detected as the source of the drug supply when undercover Redondo Beach (CA) Police arrested a man who was selling Adderall via Craigslist. That man turned informant against Kuemmerle. Another man was arrested in Arizona for drug possession and selling marijuana. He also turned informant.

In the course of the police and Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, Kuemmerle sold prescriptions for controlled substances to undercover police officers and the second information while in the presence of undercover officers 32 times.

Kuemmerle was sentenced May 23, 2011 to time served and three years’ supervised release. On December 5, 2012, the Board suspended his medical license for one year and placed it on seven years’ probation. 

Details of drug driving arrest

On or about 12:01 a.m. [date not noted in document] a Carlsbad (CA) Police Officer was on routine patrol when he observed Kuemmerle's vehicle stopped on the off-ramp of the freeway. The officer approached the vehicle and witnessed Kuemmerle passed out in the driver's seat with the vehicle in drive and the display screen illuminated inside the vehicle. The officer also witnesses fresh vomit on the outside of the driver's door and window.

After the officer was able to awaken Kuemmerle, he noted Kuemmerle smelled of alcohol, slurred when he spoke, and had red bloodshot eyes. Respondent informed the officer that there was nothing wrong with his vehicle and denied he was sick, but admitted drinking prior to driving.

Kuemmerle had difficulty exiting his vehicle and had to be assisted with walking and sitting on the nearby curb. After performing poorly on field sobriety tests, the officer placed Kuemmerle under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

At approximately 1:17 a.m., a blood sample was obtained from Kuemmerle that was subsequently tested for alcohol. The blood test result indicated Kuemmerle had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .17 percent.

On or about January 30, 2019, the San Diego County District Attorney filed a criminal complaint against Respondent in the matter of The People of the State of California v. Nathan Brian Kuemmerle, San Diego County Superior Court Case No. CN395898. Count one of the complaint charged Kuemmerle with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Count two of the complaint charged Respondent with driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or more. Both counts were charged with a further allegation that Kuemmerle's concentration of blood alcohol was 0.15 percent by weight or more.

On or about March 5, 2019, Kuemmerle was convicted of the lesser related offense of "wet reckless driving.”

Details of gross negligence in rendering diagnosis

On or about February 3, 2017, Patient A presented to Kuemmerle for psychiatric treatment. At this visit, Patient A brought his wife, Patient B, to his session for therapy, but Patient B specifically informed Kuemmerle that she did not want to be a patient. Kuemmerle spent a total of approximately two to ten minutes speaking with Patient B, during which time Patient B stated that her husband was ''yelling at me in front of the kids, says bad words, he spit on me on my face twice.. .I don't see any respect in front of the kids. He interrupts me. I don't feel like I have a voice and feel controlled. I feel offended." Kuemmerle did not conduct a diagnostic evaluation or psychometric testing of Patient B at any time, and had no further interaction with Patient B after that visit.

Between in or around February 2017, and in or around December 2017, Kuemmerle had multiple visits with Patient A that occurred approximately every three months. During these visits, Patient A informed Kuemmerle that he and Patient B were going through a contentious divorce. Patient A also informed Kuemmerle that he felt Patient B was deceitful and manipulative, and he felt fearful for his children.

In or around November 2017, Patient A and Patient B were involved in a domestic violence incident that resulted in Patient A's arrest.

On or about December 1, 2017, Kuemmerle voluntarily wrote a 'letter to the court on Patient A's behalf. This letter was written on his medical group's letterhead, Kuemmerle identified himself as an adult psychiatrist, and included his California Medical License number.

Kuemmerle did not obtain authorization from Patient B prior to writing this letter. In this letter,

Kuemmerle stated, in part, the following:

It is my strong impression through getting to know [Patient A] well that his wife [Patient B] suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. This disorder is characterized by a poor attachment from parental figures from childhood. As an adult this personality type will manifest as someone that can create extremely dramatic situations from the smallest of life circumstances. In addition they can villainize or over idealize individuals, causing them to not accurately characterize the situation. They can create completely false stories and impressions. Serious cases of this personality can be very dangerous to children under their care...

Borderline personality can often go through periods of stability but with enough stress, a person with borderline personality can have severe brief episodes of extremely unstable behavior and anger.' It is really important to strongly consider that she is a risk to her children and that the accusation against [Patient A] is very likely false ...

On or about May 11,2021, Kuemmerle participated in an interview with an investigator for the Board. During this interview, Kuemmerle denied he had formally diagnosed Patient B but only provided a "strong impression." Kuemmerle admitted that all of the information he knew about Patient B was obtained from his brief encounter with her on February 3, 2017, and from information provided by Patient A during their sessions. Kuemmerle further stated that one of the reasons he wrote the letter was to "balance the playing field," for Patient A.

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against Nathan Brian Kuemmerle, M.D., Physician's and Surgeon's Certificate No. A 89368, Case No. 800-2019-051542, Medical Board of California, Aug. 25, 2021 and Decision in the Matter of the Accusation Against Nathan B. Kuemmerle, M.D., Physician's and Surgeon's Certificate No. A 89368, Case No. 17-2009-197899, Medical Board of California, January 3, 2013.


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