Health Care

Kansas doctor loses license for sexual relationship with patient who overdosed

The Kansas medical board has revoked the license of an Emporia doctor for having a sexual relationship with a vulnerable patient who tried to commit suicide using pills he prescribed her.

The doctor, Chester W. Stone, remains licensed to practice in Missouri and previously worked at the Kansas City VA Medical Center.

In a revocation order issued last week, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts wrote that Stone “was in a position of significant power” over the unnamed female patient “and he abused that power.”

“The Board also notes that Licensee’s conduct contributed to Patient 1’s nearly fatal overdose,” the board wrote. “This incident illustrates that Licensee’s conduct constituted a serious threat to patient safety.”

Reached by phone Tuesday, Stone declined to comment publicly on the substance of the board’s order. He said that in addition to working for the Veterans Affairs Eastern Kansas Health System and in private practice in Emporia, he also worked for the Kansas City VA Medical Center for about 10 years but doesn’t anymore.

“I haven’t worked there since February or something,” Stone said.

A spokesman for the VA Eastern Kansas Health System said Stone no longer works there either, having retired June 15.

But he’s still allowed to work in Missouri. According to the Missouri Division of Professional Registration, Stone got his Missouri license in April 2016 and it expires Jan. 1, 2019.

Stone said he thinks his attorney has reported the loss of his Kansas license to the Missouri medical board.

Stone, an oncologist licensed to practice in Kansas since 1985, treated the female patient for anxiety while he was seeing her romantically, according to the board’s order.

He referred her to a psychiatrist but kept seeing her and prescribed her drugs, including controlled substances.

Early one morning in 2015, he got text messages from her “that were suicidal in nature,” according to the board’s order. Police officers who went to the woman’s home found her unresponsive in the backseat of her car, her skin pale and cold.

The officers weren’t able to find her pulse, but she was breathing and after being treated at two hospitals, she survived. The officers found several empty medication bottles in the car, including one for 120 pills of alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug Stone prescribed her.

The medical board launched an investigation and found that Stone had other infractions as well.

Since 2009, he had been using a special type of Kansas license that allowed him to practice only in federal facilities such as the veterans hospitals. Despite those restrictions, Stone also worked regularly as a weekend hospitalist at Mercy Hospital in Manhattan until May 2015, and as recently as June 8, 2018, he continued to “moonlight in various places periodically,” according to the board order.

By checking Kansas’ prescription drug monitoring system, the board found that Stone had violated the terms of his special license by prescribing controlled substances outside of the federal health system 17 times to 12 patients. He chalked that up to “not reading the fine print.”

In its order, the medical board said Stone showed a “thorough lack of genuine remorse and refusal to take responsibility for his actions.”

“Licensee exhibited a disturbing lack of awareness of the severity of his conduct,” the board’s order says, “particularly in regard to his wrongful sexual relationship and his wrongful prescribing behavior in regard to that patient.”