On November 30, 2009, the Washington Department of Health (DoH) issued a Statement of Charges against psychiatrist Charles W. Huffine for unprofessional conduct.
According to the document, Huffine provided treatment to a teenage male with a known history of substance abuse and a possible suicidal attempt, as well as considerable present-time substance abuse, including alcohol, marijuana, methadone, OxyContin and LSD.
Among the state’s allegations is that, despite an OxyContin overdose and the patient’s admissions of other substance use, escalating family turmoil instigated by the patient, increasing erratic and violent behavior, an auto accident and two citations (one for Minor in Possession), Huffine never pursued a urinalysis or other laboratory tests to determine what exactly the patient was taking or how much; never suggested to the patient that he stop using; did nothing to monitor the patient’s use; did not adequately assess the impact of the patient’s substance abuse on his mental health; did not inform the patient’s parents regarding the serious nature of the patient’s substance abuse and did not significantly involve the family in the patient’s treatment.
Further, in response to the patient’s mother’s concerns about her son’s behavior and obvious signs of drug abuse, Huffine did not inform the mother of the “serious level of danger to her son and others. Instead, he reassured the mother…suggested that he mother should not be so sure about whether the drugs were producing the patient’s…behavior. He urged her to look beyond the drug issues and see the behavior as complex and affected by psychiatric issues.” He told the mother that her son was “not ready” to stop using drugs.
Lastly, despite the known and very serious substance abuse, Huffine did not recommend more intense substance abuse treatment and on many occasions actually recommended against immediate inpatient treatment.
Ultimately, the boy was found un-arousable from sleep and was taken to the hospital where it was found he’d overdosed on 180 mg of methadone. He soon after entered substance abuse treatment and did not return to Huffine’s treatment.
The DoH records for Huffine also contain a January 2007 Order in which Huffine was censured for unprofessional conduct because he “crossed professional boundaries” with a 16-year-old female patient in that he “created an unhealthy dependency in wherein the patient focused on her relationship with Huffine to the exclusion of relationships with her parents and boyfriend…substituted himself as a father figure for the patient, created role confusion for the patient and was divisive in the patient’s relationship with her parents.”
Source: Statement of Charges in the Matter of Charles W. Huffine, M.D., License No. MD00013207, Case No. M2009-349, Washington Dept. of Health Medical Quality Assurance Commission, filed November 30, 2009 and Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order in the Matter of Charles W. Huffine, M.D., License No. MD00013207, Docket No. 05-05-A-1013MD, Washington Dept. of Health Medical Quality Assurance Commission, filed January 29, 2007.