New Market doctor’s license suspended over accusations

By Joe Beck

The Virginia Board of Medicine has suspended the license of a New Market doctor over accusations he had an improper relationship with a female patient.

Documents from the Board of Medicine state that Dr. John M. Stauffer “by his own admission . . . engaged in a romantic/physical relationship with Patient A” from December 2011 until early this year.

The board’s documents were issued under the signature of its executive director, Dr. William L. Harp. The documents report that Stauffer visited the patient at her apartment beginning in mid-2012 while she was “under his care.”

“During those visits, Dr. Stauffer and Patient A would hug and kiss,” the board’s documents state. “Dr. Stauffer estimates that he visited her apartment approximately seven times while he was serving as her primary care physician.”

Stauffer also kissed and fondled the patient during an after hours visit to his office on Oct. 25, 2012 according to the documents.

Stauffer also sent the patient several text messages of a “suggestive and lewd nature as well as professing that he loved her,” the documents state.

The documents also describe “romantic/physical contact” between Stauffer and the patient in November 2013 when he took her to mountain property he owned.

The document states that the patient sought treatment from Stauffer on Dec. 6, 2011 for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and insomnia.

The documents also accuse Stauffer of prescribing Ritalin for the patient without taking a medical history or other steps to verify her claims that she had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the past and had taken Ritalin.

Stauffer prescribed several drugs for the patient without discussing the risks of abuse and addiction with her, according to the documents. The drugs included Wellbutrin, Xanax, Ritalin, and oxycodone.

“Furthermore, although Patient A’s condition failed to improve over the course of the treatment, he failed to obtain psychiatric consultation for psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic help in the management of Patient A,” the documents state.

The documents state that Patient A was admitted to a hospital on Feb. 27 under a Temporary Detention Order and was treated for opiate withdrawal, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The board ordered Stauffer to appear for a formal administrative hearing in Henrico on Oct. 18.

Stauffer practiced at the Sentara RMH New Market Health Center. He joined the RMH medical staff in 1980.

Jennifer M. Downs, a spokeswoman for Sentara RMH Medical Group, said in an email statement that Stauffer was terminated Wednesday “in light of the Virginia Board of Medicine’s decision to summarily suspend his license.”

“When Sentara became aware of an allegation against Dr. John Stauffer, we acted swiftly in notifying the state Board of Medicine,” Downs wrote. “The Board of Medicine initiated an investigation with our full cooperation.”

Downs said Sentara will continue to cooperate with the board as it continues its investigation of Stauffer.

Other patients with questions about the care they have received under Stauffer are asked to contact Helen Young at 689-1680.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com