September 14. 2017 11:26AM

Keene family physician reprimanded for affair with her patient


Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified another person involved in this incident.

KEENE - A family physician who carried on an affair with a patient has been reprimanded by the state.

Dr. Rachel E. Croteau, D.O., was first to bring her conduct to the Board of Medicine’s attention in an email sent Feb. 7 in which she admitted to “a breach of ethics” in the form of an “inappropriate” relationship with a male patient.

In the letter, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock doctor said she was embarrassed by her “lapse in judgement,” the board said.

A letter 10 days later from Dr. Croteau’s attorney informed the board there was no current sexual relationship between the doctor and patient.

In its investigation, the board determined Dr. Croteau began treating the patient in June 2015 and they began a romantic relationship in September 2016. In November of 2016, the patient was transferred to the care of another doctor, though she later provided him care on two occasions for a bad knee.

The doctor never prescribed any controlled substances to the patient, the board said, and they found no evidence the affair adversely affected patient care.

In addition to the reprimand being placed on her record, Dr. Croteau must “meaningfully participate” in the New Hampshire Professional Health Program and follow its recommendations. She also must complete 24 hours of continuing medical education focused on professional boundaries and pay a $1,000 fine.

“If the respondent fails to comply with any of the requirements of this settlement agreement her license will be suspended for 60 days,” the board said. In addition, any current medical employer or new employer over the next two years must be informed of the settlement.

Dr. Croteau, who practices family medicine, was first granted a license to practice medicine in New Hampshire on June 4, 2003.