×

Claremont Doctor Has License Suspended Over Sex Allegations



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Claremont — The New Hampshire Board of Medicine has suspended the medical license of a former Valley Regional Hospital physician, citing evidence of sexual misconduct and his failure to comply with the board’s opioid prescribing rules.

Dr. Eric Lee Knight was employed as a family practice physician in Claremont until he was fired in June.

During an interview with the state board’s investigator, Knight acknowledged having sex with two patients — one while employed in Claremont and one while employed elsewhere — and admitted that he “did not pay attention” to the board’s procedures for prescribing opioids, according to an order of emergency license suspension and notice of hearing issued on Monday.

Knight came to the attention of the state when he disclosed one of the sexual relationships in a license renewal application filed this summer.

“The board has received information indicating that the continued practice of medicine by (Knight) poses an imminent threat to life, safety and/or health, which warrants the temporary suspension of (Knight’s) license to practice medicine pending a hearing on whether permanent and/or temporary disciplinary sanctions should be imposed,” the board wrote in its order.

Knight voluntarily stopped practicing in May, surrendered his privileges at Valley Regional after disclosing “an improper relationship with a patient” and began receiving treatment through an out-of-state professional enhancement program, according to a board filing.

A subsequent investigation by Valley Regional officials determined that Knight’s “relationship” with a woman referred to in the filings as “patient 1” was “inappropriate” under the American Medical Association’s principles of medical ethics, the state criminal code, the hospital’s bylaws and the Federation of State Medical Boards’ guidelines.

In addition, Knight violated Med 502, the state Board of Medicine’s rules for prescribing controlled substances and the AMA’s principles of medical ethics when he failed to use “pain contracts” with 85 of the 87 patients for whom he had prescribed opioids in the previous year.

In the case of patient 1, records indicate Knight failed to run a query on her in the prescription drug monitoring program, complete a pain contract or conduct a urine toxicology test. Her prescription dose also was well above normal prescribing patterns, according to a board filing.

Valley Regional fired Knight on June 20.

In his license renewal application filed in early July, Knight indicated he suffers from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a previously “undiagnosed addictive personality,” which he said was discovered in May, after he “had spiraled down, engaged in a sexual boundary crossing with a patient.”

Phone and email messages left on Tuesday for Knight’s attorney, Andrea Daly of Robinson, Boesch, Sennott & Masse in Portsmouth, N.H., were not returned.

In an interview with the board’s investigator, patient 1 alleged that Knight, who rented an apartment in Sunapee, raped her “on multiple occasions” after their patient/doctor relationship began in late October or early November of last year. The timeline is muddy, however. Medical records obtained by the investigator indicate that patient 1 was in fact a patient of Knight’s at his former practice, Elliot Primary Care in Londonderry, N.H. He left Elliot in March 2016.

In one instance, the patient alleges a sex assault occurred in the men’s locker room at Valley Regional. She also told the investigator that the first time they had sex was in Knight’s office in Claremont, an allegation Knight denied in his own interview with the investigator. Knight did, however, acknowledge that during one office visit, he “massaged patient 1 and did stretching exercises with her,” which he recognized was “inappropriate.”

The patient said she was “forced” to tell Knight about her history of sexual abuse, and alleges that Knight had sex with her “after she advised him that she was injured and bleeding from him having sexual intercourse with her one to three times per day.”

The patient told the investigator that — with the aid of hormone injections Knight gave her that caused her to feel discomfort and nausea — she twice became pregnant with Knight’s child, but she lost both pregnancies. She also said that she developed kidney infections after having sex with Knight, something she didn’t have previously.

The patient alleges that Knight took pain medication that was prescribed to her and that he drugged her on several occasions by crushing medication into her drinks, causing her to pass out.

Knight told the investigator that he does not drink alcohol or take opiates and denied diverting any of the patient’s medications.

The patient also alleges that Knight spent time with her children without her permission, lectured her about religion and controlled her relationships with friends. Knight acknowledged that he spent time with the patient’s children and said that their activities included watching movies and going shopping.

Knight told the investigator he “felt that patient 1’s youngest daughter was starting to trust him,” according to the documents.

The patient’s two daughters also were Knight’s patients while he was engaged “in a sexual relationship with their mother,” according to the board’s filings.

In subsequent communication with the board’s investigator, Knight said he previously had sexual contact with a patient, known as “patient 2,” in 2013 and 2014, while he was employed by Elliot Primary Care. At that time, both the patient and her daughter were patients of his, Knight told the investigator. The affair lasted a few months, but ended when the patient met someone else.

Knight told the investigator that he wanted the relationship to continue.

“(Knight) wanted patient 2 to continue to cut his hair and to keep the ‘door open,’ ” according to the documents.

Knight also told the board investigator he had a “three-month inappropriate relationship with a patient, which involved sexual stimulation,” in 1999, during his residency in Massachusetts. Knight is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase, reached by phone on Tuesday, said he was unaware of any investigation into sexual assault allegations against Knight.

“I’m not seeing any investigation,” Chase said, adding that another agency may have launched one without his knowing. “(I’m) not saying that someone hasn’t launched an investigation.”

 

Knight is scheduled to appear before the Board of Medicine next week for a hearing to determine whether he engaged in professional misconduct according to the AMA’s code of ethics and the state’s aggravated felonious sexual assault statute. The hearing is set for 1 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the board’s office in Concord.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com.