On August 16, 2011, the Connecticut Medical Examining Board (“Board”) issued a Consent Order on psychiatrist Peter Benet.
This is the third Board disciplinary action in three and a half years against Benet, for obvious harm to patients yet each time the Board has merely ordered him to pay a fine.
One has to wonder if the Board is more interested in money than in protecting the public a psychiatrist who appears to prescribing drugs with no informed consent, no meaningful patient interaction and no follow-up.
Benet’s Connecticut medical license expired January 31, 2011 and he failed to renew it but continued to practice even after the license was rendered void on May 2, 2011. He applied for reinstatement sometime in mid-July 2011.
At that time, the Board charged him with treatment of a patient which failed to meet the standard of care in several ways. Specifically, Benet provided treatment to patient “P.F.” on March 21, 2009 and into the summer of that year and started the patient on a course of lithium without obtaining necessary laboratory studies.* Futher, he failed to monitor P.F.’s response to the drug and failed to return phone calls from P.F. and his wife.
The Board also charged Benet with practicing on an expired license after May 2, 2011 and until at least July 13, 2011.
The Board ordered Benet to pay a civil penalty of $10,000.
This is not the first time Benet has been disciplined over his apparent ignorance and/or ineptitude regarding the use of lithium: In March 2008, the Board issued a Consent Order in which Benet admitted that he “deviated from the applicable standard of care” in his treatmen of patient “AKB” because he failed to coordinate his prescription of lithium with her hypothyroidism” and/or “failed to record adequate clinical justification for his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.” Despite the adverse effect this had on AKB’s quality of life (and that of her child and family) over an extended period, Dr. Benet was merely required to pay a $3,000 civil penalty.
Just over a year later, in June 2009, the Board fined Benet for delivering substandard care to a patient who developed the incurable nerve disorder tardive dyskinesia (abbreviated “TD,” the disorder manifests in involuntary muscle contractions of the face, neck, etc.). According to the Board’s report, Benet prescribed the patient multiple drugs, some of which are known to cause TD. However, the patient’s medical record does not reflect that Benet advised the patient of the risks associated with at least seven of the drugs he prescribed. The Board also charged Benet with failure to coordinate his prescriptions with drugs the patient was already taking for extant medical conditions. The Board fined Benet $15,000 and placed his license on probation for one year. He was also ordered to hire a supervising psychiatrist to conduct a random review of his patient records and complete courses in TD and managing medications.
As a result of the current disciplinary action, Benet’s license was placed on probation for two years and he is again required to have a portion of his patient files reviewed by a licensed physician pre-approved by the Board.
* Lithium can be toxic to the liver and lethal to the patient, and thus patients taking the drug must be tested prior to its prescription and must receive routine testing for as long as they take it.
Source: Reinstatement Consent Order in re: Peter Benet, M.D., Petition No. 2011-839, Petition No. 2009-20091603, State of Connecticut Depart of Health, “State medical board disciplines South Windsor psychiatrist,” Hartford Courant, June 17, 2009.