Virginia Medical Board Reprimands Psychiatrist Robert Ketcham for Negligent Prescribing of Controlled Substances

June 30, 2022

On May 6, 2021, the Virginia Board of Medicine reprimanded psychiatrist Robert Ketcham for unprofessional conduct; negligent conduct likely to cause harm; and conducting his practice in such a manner as to be a danger to the health and welfare of his patients or to the public.

Ketcham treated a 20-year-old patient between February 6, 2017 and June 22, 2020 for a patient-reported diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and depression. The patient stated that he requested prescriptions from Ketcham “…knowing I was going to abuse the medication.”

In his psychiatric evaluation of the patient, Ketcham failed to confirm the patient’s reported ADD diagnosis through an adequate and/or appropriate mental health history, collateral information from the patient’s family or prior treatment providers. He failed as well to obtain and review prior treatment records or conduct formal ADD testing. Ketcham nonetheless prescribed psychostimulants which were addictive and with significant abuse potential. 

Without ordering or conducting a urine drug screen or accessing the patient’s Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) data, Ketcham prescribed Vyvanse and Lexapro based on the patient’s representations that he previously took these medications at the prescribed dosages. During the remainder of the treatment period, Ketcham failed to adequately and appropriately manage and monitor the patient’s psychostimulant medications and prescribed him Klonopin and Lunesta absent adequate medical indication.

Two days after his last appointment with Ketcham (June 24, 2020), the patient presented to a Virginia hospital emergency department requesting inpatient detoxification for IV methamphetamine and other substance use/abuse. His rapid Urine Drug Screening was positive for amphetamines, benzodiazepines and cannabinoid and he was diagnosed with severe sedative use disorder, severe amphetamine use disorder, cannabis use disorder and cocaine use disorder.

Source: Consent Order in re: Robert Ketcham, M.D., license number 0101-029308, case number 205742, before the Virginia Board of Medicine, May 6, 2021.


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