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Psychiatrist’s license revoked after alleged sexual assaults


The Osteopathic Medical Board of California has revoked a psychiatrist’s license because it found that he sexually assaulted two patients after giving them ketamine and that he had an affair with the sister of another patient.

In its decision, the board stated that the psychiatrist, Cuyler Burns Goodwin, DO, committed gross negligence, violated ethical standards, departed from the standard of care, and was guilty of sexual misconduct.

“Even if one were to believe respondent’s denial of sexual assaults on Patient B and Patient C, his overall course of conduct in committing multiple other ethical violations and violations of the Medical Practice Act in connection with Patient A’s Sister, Patient B, and Patient C; his attitude toward and lack of insight into his offenses; and his lack of candor at hearing demonstrate that revocation of respondent’s license is required for protection of the public,” the board wrote in its March 8 order.

The board seeks to recover almost $65,000 in costs for the investigation, including for legal fees and expert testimony. The psychiatrist is not currently facing any criminal charges.

Family-run business

Dr. Goodwin received his medical license in 2013 and opened Sequoia Mind Health, a practice in Santa Rosa, Calif., soon after completing his residency at the University of California San Francisco, according to the board.

The allegations leading to the revocation of his license occurred at the Sequoia Mind Health practice, a family-run business that employed Dr. Goodwin’s mother as the office manager, his wife as the sole registered nurse, and his sister who worked reception for a time. Dr. Goodwin closed the practice in October 2019.

Until 2020, he worked as an emergency services psychiatrist for Sonoma County Behavioral Health. Other positions included stints at John George Psychiatric Pavilion in San Leandro, at Mendocino County Jail from 2018 to 2021, and at Lake County Jail from 2020 to 2021.

Since closing his practice, he also worked as a psychiatrist for Redwood Quality Management Company in Ukiah, Calif.

The board notified Dr. Goodwin in November 2020 that it was opening an investigation into his conduct.

Affair with patient’s sister

Patient A came to Dr. Goodwin in 2017 as an uninsured, homebound, 24-year-old with schizophrenia. He had not received previous mental health treatment and was entirely dependent on his family because of the severity of his symptoms.

Dr. Goodwin agreed to make home visits to provide medication management and psychotherapy and was paid in cash by the patient’s sister, who was a point of contact for the family.

The sister and Dr. Goodwin developed a friendship and, after commiserating about their troubled marriages, began a sexual relationship in 2018 and decided they would divorce their spouses and marry each other.

However, in November 2018, the sister became pregnant and, at her request, Dr. Goodwin prescribed misoprostol to induce an abortion. The affair and the abortion were later discovered by the sister’s family, who agreed to not file a complaint with the medical board in exchange for Dr. Goodwin’s agreeing to cease communications with the sister.

Nevertheless, the two continued the affair and in February 2019 the patient’s father and mother each separately complained to the medical board. The sister also sent a letter to the board urging against disciplinary action – but later acknowledged that the letter was prepared by Dr. Goodwin.

The family removed Patient A from Dr. Goodwin’s care in 2019. The sister’s relationship with Patient A and her family was damaged; she subsequently divorced her husband and moved out of state. She later told the board she regretted the relationship and knew it was wrong.

When Dr. Goodwin was initially interviewed in 2019 by the medical board, he refused to discuss the relationship or the misoprostol prescription. Then, at a later hearing, he said he did not see anything wrong with the relationship and did not believe it affected the care of Patient A.

The medical board’s expert witness said Dr. Goodwin’s behavior “showed he either had no knowledge of ethical boundaries or chose to ignore them, showing poor judgment and ‘cluelessness’ about the potential adverse effects of having a sexual relationship with Sister, which had the significant potential to compromise Patient A’s treatment.”


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