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Was There an Ulterior Motive Behind a Dementia Diagnosis?

Dr. Suellen Lee retired her license over the 'peculiar case'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2018 4:37 PM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / myibean)

(Newser) – The Tennessean calls it a "peculiar case," and that pretty much nails it. Government attorneys say Dr. Suellen Lee borrowed $300,000 from one of her patients, but what happened next is up for debate: Lee says she borrowed the money to prop up her clinic about two decades ago from a woman identified in records as EW; Lee says she has been paying it back since. EW tells a different story: that when she asked to be repaid, Lee diagnosed her with dementia in an alleged attempt to avoid ponying up the money. Lee, 79, was an internal medicine specialist in Columbia, Tenn.; she last month retired her medical license over the incident, but only because she says she can't win what would be a very pricey case.

Lee, who spoke to the Tennessean after a monthly Tennessee Department of Health discipline report revealed her case, says the whole thing was a "set up." The dementia diagnosis itself is at issue: Lee she admits it was made on observation only (with no tests or input from a mental health professional), but maintains EW exhibited erratic behavior and memory loss. That diagnosis caused EW to be denied access to her financial assets. She subsequently went to a psychologist who found "no indication of dementia." Lee counters the woman misled the psychologist to hide her true diagnosis and then accused Lee because she was angry about Lee's diagnosis. Read the full story here. (The operations were hideously botched. But he kept at them.)

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