Spokane shock doc pulls a “Hageseth”

note: a “Hageseth” is being used around the Internet in the same way “a Lewinsky” is. (A Lewinsky is now an accepted synonym for oral sex, as in Monica Lewinsky and Pres. Bill Clinton.) A Hageseth is defined as a “psychiatrist who has an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient or recent patient.”

I only report it, folks.

KING 5 News and KREM.com Staff reports

Nov. 19,2007

SPOKANE – A lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Spokane Monday claims a Spokane psychologist used his position to seduce a patient.

According to the complaint, the Dr. John Moulton committed multiple acts of malpractice and negligence while treating a female patient.

Malpractice cited in the legal complaint against Moulton includes: seeing the patient outside of treatment sessions, buying her alcoholic beverages, consuming alcohol with her, and other boundary violations and negligent acts of both a sexual and non-sexual nature.

Among the allegations detailed in the complaint, Dr. Moulton sent emails to the patient where he admitted to her that he acted like an abusive predator: “I have acted like an abusive predator, which may be the most despicable kind of person there is.”

The alleged malpractice began after the patient, who suffered from severe depression, checked herself into Spokane’s Sacred Heart Medical Center in April of 2005. The hospital assigned Moulton to be treating psychiatrist. During this two-week hospital stay, the psychologist administered a series of nine electro-shock treatments to patient.

Following discharge from the hospital, the patient returned to her family in Alaska. On June 1, 2005, she again traveled to Spokane and re-entered Sacred Heart for additional treatment for depression. Again, Dr. Moulton was assigned to be her treating psychiatrist, and according to the patient’s attorney, Michael S. Kolker, who said it was during the second hospital visit that Moulton told the patient he had feelings for her.

Upon her discharge from Sacred Heart on June 12th, Moulton arranged for the patient to spend time at an in-patient facility in Lake Chelan for continuing treatment for her depression. According to Kolker, Moulton drove the patient to the Spokane airport for the flight to Lake Chelan, and kissed her before she boarded the plane.

On June 23, 2005, the patient returned to Spokane to stay at the home of her brother for continued outpatient treatment with Moulton, whose boundary violations and acts of malpractice continued.

According to Kolker, for nearly a month while he was supposed to treat the patient for depression, Moulton saw the patient almost daily outside of therapy sessions. He took her out to bars and restaurants, consumed alcohol with her, fondled and kissed her.

“When a psychiatrist does it to a patient, it’s not dating and it’s not a relationship. It’s a boundary violation and it is abusive,” said Kolker.

Moulton then told the that he loved her and tried to convince her that she was in love with him. They made plans for the future. The suit said Moulton did all of this, knowing the patient was married and the mother of three children. He also knew she was on medication and had giving her multiple sessions of electro shock therapy.

In August, the patient’s husband discovered Moulton’s malpractice and confronted him. According to allegations in the complaint, Moulton sent the patient and her husband a number of emails in which he admitted and apologized for his misconduct. Excerpts of some of those emails are included in the complaint.

The complaint further alleges that Moulton’s negligent conduct caused the patient exacerbated depression, pain and suffering and two suicide attempts.

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Comments (3)

ElizabethJanuary 8th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I have nothing but contempt for doctors like Dr. Moulton. I was involved with my Doctor and he too practiced at Sacared Heart Medical Center in 1976. I too underwent electro shock treatments and have since battle extreme depression. However, have since found a wonderful doctor.

Very concernedMay 22nd, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Elizabeth, Thank you for the information. Sorry you had to experience it. However, Maybe you can please help – What doctor did you find?

Michelle HubbardJuly 19th, 2010 at 5:26 am

I am currently undergoing electroconvulsive (ect) treatments at Sacred Heart with Dr. Moulton. I am very interested in knowing who else is doing ect, Elizabeth, if you wouldn’t mind sharing who you found for treatment I would appreciate it greatly.

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