For the second time this decade, the Medical Board of California has charged Newport Beach psychiatrist Paul F. Reardon with misconduct. On June 21, the Medical Board charged Reardon with “gross negligence” in regards to his treatment of a woman (identified in the 26-page complaint only as “Patient A”). Reardon diagnosed her with “PTSD, s/p head trauma, major depression, and sexual abuse as a child.”
Reardon began treating the woman in 2013 when she was 66, according to the complaint. Her initial symptoms were five years of “waking with terrible anxiety, panic attacks, and severe insomnia,” according to the complaint. She also apparently made multiple suicide attempts. Over the next five years, Reardon saw Patient A multiple times a year, and much of the complaint (which you can read here) itemizes in meticulous, often painful detail the myriad medications Reardon prescribed for Patient A. The complaint also lists multiple instances of what the Medical Board considers alleged negligence.
“During the course of his care and treatment of Patient A from approximately October 2013 through October 2018, Respondent’s treatment sessions often lasted for approximately two hours each time,” the complaint states. “Respondent failed to monitor and/or failed to document having monitored hemoglobin A1Cs while Patient A was on atypical antipsychotics such as Seroquel, Risperdal, Latuda, Saphris, and Ablify; Respondent failed to measure and/or failed to document having measured Patient A’s blood pressure or pulse, prior to starting medications which can affect blood pressure or pulse such as Propranolol, Prazosin, Clonidine, and Metoprolol; Respondent failed to monitor lithium and creatinine levels while Patient A was on Lithium; and Respondent failed to monitor Tegretol levels and/or Complete Blood Count (CBC) while patient A was on Tegretol.”
The complaint lists other “Repeated Negligent Acts” that Reardon allegedly committed while treating Patient A:
Respondent failed to decrease the dosage and the number of psychiatric medications for Patient A who was on a multi-drug regimen and showed confusion and word-finding difficulty;
Respondent continued antidepressants for many months after they had proven ineffective;
Respondent retried antidepressant medications for months, even though they had previously failed an adequate trial;
Respondent repeatedly used ineffective medications to treat a serious mood disorder;
Respondent failed to obtain medical records of previous treatment providers and current medications prescribed by other physicians;
Respondent failed to obtain and/or failed to document having obtained Patient A’s family psychiatric history;
Respondent failed to document Patient A’s history of past medication trials;
Respondent provided excessive treatment by often having visitation sessions which lasted approximately two hours;
Respondent failed to monitor Patient A’s drug levels and/or failed to order appropriate laboratory studies to screen for side effects;
Respondent failed to measure and/or failed to document having measured Patient A’s blood pressure or pulse, prior to starting medications which can affect blood pressure or pulse;
Respondent discontinued Effexor too rapidly without a stated urgent need for doing so;
Respondent discontinued medications that were helpful to Patient A, including, but not limited to, Seroquel;
Respondent used a stimulant, Methylphenidate, on Patient A, who was severely depressed, anxious, and had no history of ADHD;
Respondent tapered Patient A off of lithium in just over three (3) days, instead of a longer time period, without any documented urgent reason(s) for doing so;
Respondent failed to adequately monitor for drug interactions even though he used a multi-drug regimen on Patient A;
Respondent used Wellbutrin on an agitated patient and/or failed to recognize that Wellbutrin made Patient A worse;
Respondent prescribed Rexulti at a dose more than the maximum dose;
Respondent failed to accurately portray Patient A’s clinical status.
While talking to a Medical Board in 2018, Reardon also allegedly made a serious error regarding the dosage of the psychiatric drug Rexulti. “On or about September 27, 2018, during an interview with Division of Investigation, Healthy Quality Investigation Unit, Respondent stated that the maximum dosage for Rexulti is 6 mg, when in fact, it is 3 mg,” states the complaint.
In 2007, Reardon was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana after someone called the cops to report his erratic driving. Reardon completed an eight-hour drug diversion program in 2008, and a judge dismissed the incident from his record. But when the Medical Board attempted to interview Reardon for a possible misconduct investigation, the doctor refused, and fought the board in court. Though the California Court of Appeal ruled in 2010 that Reardon had to comply, the Medical Board dismissed the charges in 2012.
The Medical Board also previously disciplined Reardon in 2006 for “allegedly prescribing as much as 40 times the recommended dosage of sleeping aid Ambien,” the Orange County Register reported at the time.
Reardon has had a medical license in California since 1991. He faces possible license suspension or revocation, according to the Medical Board. No one from his office responded to a call requesting comment.
Click here to read the full complaint.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.