Doctor borrows $300k from patient—then diagnoses her with dementia when she asks to be paid back: Report

A doctor in Tennessee has retired her medical license amid allegations that she borrowed $300,000 from a female patient then diagnosed her with dementia when she requested repayment.

According to the Tennessean, Dr. Suellen Lee, 79, retired her license last month as the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners dealt with her case. Government attorneys accused Lee of borrowing the money from a patient when her medical clinic was in financial trouble.

The doctor had treated the patient, identified in records as E.W., for 25 years. Citing state records, the newspaper reported that Lee sent a copy of the dementia diagnosis to E.W.’s daughter, who went on to forward the letter to her mother’s financial company—leading E.W. to be locked out of her assets.

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Lee allegedly told investigators that she diagnosed the patient solely off “observation” and didn’t take additional measures to confirm she had dementia. Records stated that a psychologist who subsequently evaluated E.W. found no evidence that she had dementia, according to the Tennessean.

Despite this, Lee recently told the outlet that the state misrepresented the case, asserting that she borrowed the money 20 years ago and was regularly paying off the debt in installments.

The disgraced doctor also denied claims that she falsely diagnosed E.W. with dementia. She maintained E.W. was behaving erratically and showed signs of suffering from memory loss.

“She wanted to hurt me because she was so angry with me because I had said that she was demented,” Lee told the Tennessean, accusing her ex-patient of misleading the psychologist so they would challenge her dementia diagnosis.

Notwithstanding, Lee ultimately agreed to admit guilt during last month’s meeting with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Board of Medical Examiners. In turn, she retired her license, signed a consent form, and will pay a $2,000 fine.

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