Medical Board Revokes License of San Diego Psychiatrist Nathan Kuemmerle

October 14, 2022

On September 29, 2022, the Medical Board of California revoked psychiatrist Nathan Kuemmerle’s license due to excessive use of alcohol; a criminal conviction related to alcohol consumption; gross negligence; and general unprofessional conduct.

This revocation follows the Board’s August 25, 2021 Accusation against Kuemmerle, which includes several disciplinary charges related a 2019 alcohol-related conviction and a 2017 incident in which he rendered a psychiatric diagnosis against someone involved in a legal proceeding who was not his patient and from whom he did not obtain consent for diagnosis or treatment.

Alcohol conviction

The Board’s document states that a Carlsbad (CA) Police officer observed Kuemmerle's vehicle stopped on the off-ramp of the freeway. The officer found Kuemmerle passed out in the driver's seat and noted fresh vomit on the outside of the driver's door and window. Upon rousing Kuemmerle, the officer noted Kuemmerle smelled of alcohol, slurred when he spoke, and had red bloodshot eyes. 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. The blood sample obtained from Kuemmerle was tested for alcohol and the results indicated a blood alcohol content of .17 percent.

On or about January 30, 2019, the San Diego County District Attorney filed a criminal complaint charging Kuemmerle with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or more. On or about March 5, 2019, Kuemmerle was convicted of the lesser related offense of "wet reckless driving.”

This arrest and conviction occurred when Kuemmerle’s license was still on probation from a 2012 Board disciplinary action. (More on this below.)

Psychiatric diagnosis without consent

On or about February 3, 2017, “G.G.” presented to Kuemmerle for psychiatric treatment. The patient brought his wife, A.G., to the session but she specifically informed Kuemmerle that she did not want to be his patient. Kuemmerle spent a total of approximately two to ten minutes speaking with A.G., during which time she 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 A.G. at any time, and had no further interaction with her after that visit.

Between that time and December 2017, Kuemmerle had multiple visits with G.G., who informed him that he and his wife were going through a contentious divorce. G.G. also informed him that he felt his wife was deceitful and manipulative, and he felt fearful for his children.

Sometime in November 2017, G.G. was arrested for a domestic violence incident involving his wife.

In December 2017, Kuemmerle voluntarily wrote a letter to the court on G.G.’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. In this letter, Kuemmerle stated, in part, the following:

“It is my strong impression through getting to know [G.G.] well that his wife 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 [G.G.] is very likely false.”

On or about May 11, 2021, in an interview with an investigator for the Board, Kuemmerle denied he had formally diagnosed A.G. but only provided a "strong impression." Kuemmerle admitted that all of the information he knew about her was obtained from his single brief encounter with her in 2017, and from information provided by G.G. during their sessions.

Prior federal drug conviction

In the Board’s Decision to revoke Kuemmerle’s medical license, it also noted his 2011 conviction in federal court for distribution of a controlled substance. Kuemmerle admitted that he knowingly distributed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice. He was reported to have written controlled substance prescriptions for cash, without legitimate medical purposes, to make money to pay for his own addiction to methamphetamine.

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.

Further, in determining to revoke Kuemmerle’s license, the Board noted the numerous ways in which the psychiatrist has failed to take responsibility for his conduct:

  • Kuemmerle accuses the Board of “setting him up for defeat” by failing to specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol in the terms of his 2012 probation order.
  • Kuemmerle’s explanation of the incident, including that he had "bad sushi" and was too cold to perform the field sobriety tests, further demonstrates a minimalization of his responsibility by suggesting that intoxication was not the cause of the police stop. 
  • During the course of his probation, on multiple occasions, Kuemmerle failed to check-in or report for drug testing, which resulted in the board issuing two separate citations in lieu of seeking revocation of his probation. Kuemmerle blamed the board for being too stringent in its enforcement. 
  • He minimized the seriousness of the conduct leading to his federal drug conviction, describing it as "overprescribing" of Xanax or issuing a non-legitimate prescription. Though he was convicted of distributing drugs [he was the state’s highest prescriber of Adderall at the time], he continues to characterize it as "overprescribing." This demonstrates that he has yet to acknowledge his accountability, even after 12 years. 
  • Regarding the psychiatric diagnosis rendered in the letter he submitted in G.G.’s domestic violence case, Kuemmerle repeatedly justified his actions and did not admit that he departed from the standard of care or ethical practice. His claim that the letter was a "referral" for the court to conduct an independent evaluation of both parties was not credible. 

Lastly, the Board noted: “His answers during the interview (and occasionally during the hearing) were frenetic, rambling, and in some instances, nonsensical. In sum, it is clear that respondent has not engaged in any meaningful introspection about his actions or gleaned significant insight, which raises concerns about his competency. There is little evidence to support a finding that respondent has been rehabilitated or would not commit a similar act in the future.”

Source: Decision in the Matter of the First Amended Accusation Against Nathan Brian Kuemmerle, M.D>, Physician’s & Surgeon’s Certificate No. A 89368, Case No. 800-2019-051542, Medical Board of California, Aug. 30, 2022. 


No comments.

Post your own comment here:

Your Comment