CHELAN — The state Board of Health has fined a Chelan doctor $5,000 and placed her on probation for three and a half years for unprofessional conduct involving a relationship with a patient.
Amy Hutton acknowledged to the board that it had sufficient evidence to find that she had a dating relationship with a patient while still being on record as his doctor. The board’s ruling also finds that she treated the patient’s wife and children, although there were no appointments after Hutton told the wife that she was dating the woman’s husband.
The order for probation, which became public Friday, was signed April 3 by Hutton and her attorney, Steve Lamberson of Spokane.
In a phone interview Friday, Lamberson called the findings “technical violations,” and said the male patient understood that the doctor-patient relationship had ended when the dating began.
The board found that, while Hutton told her male patient that she could no longer be his doctor in July of 2011, she did not write a termination letter to him until October.
“Dr. Hutton learned that that was a mistake and she learned from the process,” Lamberson said.
He added that “there is no finding that Dr. Hutton took advantage of anybody in any way. Her medical care has never been questioned.”
He said both Hutton and the male patient were separated from their spouses when they began dating in July of 2011.
The state Board of Health order directs Hutton to seek an evaluation at the Baylor Psychiatry Clinic in Houston to determine if she can practice medicine “without posing an unreasonable risk of harm to the public or patients.”
Lamberson said that, while that evaluation has not yet become public, the examining physician “found that she is absolutely safe to practice medicine.”
The order also directs her to find a physician, who would be approved by the board, to mentor her for the probationary period. It also directs her to notify present and future patients about the Board of Health’s decision.
The board’s findings state that the man’s wife considered herself a friend of Hutton’s and that Huttton told the wife in December 2010 that Hutton and the patient “were destined to be together.”
The husband and wife who were Hutton’s patients in this case separated in June of 2011, the order states.
Lamberson said the male patient and Hutton remain in a relationship today.
Hutton is one of four physician owners of the Lake Chelan Clinic.
Dee Riggs: 664-7147