Lynne Fenton, James Holmes's doctor: Her ex-husband on minor discipline made to look major
Update: Shortly after publishing the following item about Dr. Lynne Fenton, a CU psychiatrist who treated accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, we heard from Steffan Andrews, Fenton's ex-husband, and one of the people to whom she provided Claritin and other meds without keeping proper records, earning censure from a state medical board. He provides some interesting back story on a case about which much is being made in the media, even though it appears to be unrelated and very minor.
According to Andrews, who's been divorced from Fenton for about ten years but remains friendly with her, "someone in her office got a strange call from a pharmacy" circa the late 1990s. "There was a patient there trying to fill a prescription for Vicodin and nobody knew the patient. And in fairly short order, she was able to discover that it was her nurse."
At that point, Andrews continues, Fenton shared this information with the Drug Enforcement Administration, whose investigators were able to determine that the nurse had filled other prescriptions for Vicodin -- 1,200 to 1,400 of them, by his memory. But rather than stopping at busting the nurse, the DEA subsequently opened an inquiry into Fenton. Andrews's supposition about why: "The doctor gives the headlines."
What followed was a four-year investigation, after which the DEA "had nothing," in Andrews's view. "They had that Lynne hadn't opened and maintained a proper chart on me for my chronic hay fever [she gave him some Claritins before they were available over the counter], she gave me a small prescription for Ambien after a European vacation, and she had given the nurse some medicine without keeping a chart."
One other thing: "Her mother was dying of cancer, and she took four Xanaxes from a sample bottle of, I think, one hundred that she'd gotten from a drug rep -- and she gave the DEA back the other 96."
At the time the investigation was winding up, Andrews says Fenton was taking a break from practicing -- but when the DEA asked if she'd voluntarily surrender her license, she said "no." Shortly thereafter, the agency gave its information to the state medical board, which ultimately filed the 2005 document seen at the bottom of this post. "They said, 'You need to improve your charting,' she took a course, and that was it," Andrews recalls.
Now, however, Andrews believes the press is blowing this incident out of proportion. "They're making it seem like she's some crazy, drug-prescribing, out-of-control physician," he says, In truth, though, "she's a very nice, kind, compassionate person who's utterly, utterly dedicated to her patients and her work as a psychiatrist."
Page down to see our previous coverage.