A Martinsburg doctor unethically doled out powerful prescription drugs and repeatedly exposed herself at the office — including forcing a female co-worker to “motor boat” her surgically enlarged breasts — according to allegations in a report from the state Board of Medicine.
A 31-page complaint issued by the board in July accuses Dr. Tressie Montene Duffy of breaking a litany of medical and ethics laws and standards. The board argues Duffy is unqualified to continue practicing medicine.
Duffy, 44, is the CEO and co-owner of West Virginia Weight and Wellness Inc. in Martinsburg. The clinic’s website says its doctors focus on weight management, but they also offer primary and urgent care needs and a “Chronic Pain and Opioid Dependency Treatment Program.”
Duffy did not return a phone message left Tuesday at the clinic.
Lisa Lilly, Duffy’s attorney, said Duffy was familiar with the complaint and “denies any and all wrongdoing.” Lilly stressed this is “not the first time” the board has tried to revoke Duffy’s license, but declined to elaborate further.
Complaints from at least three different people provide extensive details about Duffy’s alleged misconduct dating back to 2010. Former employees identified as “Complainant M” and “Complainant R” and other anonymous sources cited in the report say Duffy’s sordid behavior led to many problems.
More than a dozen patients received powerful pain and anxiety medications like Oxycodone, Opana, Valium and Xanax with prescriptions from Duffy filled while she was out of the state on vacation or at a conference, according to the complaint.
Duffy would sign pads of blank prescriptions and tell her office staff — some of whom aren’t doctors — to fill them out for patients in her absence, the complaint said.
Duffy — who only accepted direct payments as opposed to billing insurance — said patients had to pay for a doctor visit even when she wasn’t in the office if they wanted their medication, the complaint said.
She also allegedly distributed many doses of Suboxone and other controlled substances during years when she was not allowed to do so from her office.
Similar to methadone, Suboxone is a drug that can be used to help wean addicts off of medications but is also easily abused.
Duffy purchased more than 1,000 doses of Suboxone in 2010 and distributed it through 2013, even though she wasn’t registered to give out such medications from her office until December of 2013, according to the complaint.
Duffy also reportedly self-prescribed Suboxone and testosterone, although she’s never given the board medical records of self-treatment or self-prescribing. In 2013 a board investigator found medications, some surrendered by patients, in a safe at the clinic and labeled for “office use,” according to the complaint.
Complainant R also says Duffy, “engaged in a scheme with a drug salesperson to inflate the salesperson’s sales in exchange for consideration from the salesperson, including paid parties and office staff.”
Her medical license also lapsed from July 1 to Sept. 18, 2012.
Other anonymous complaints accused Duffy of similar charges, in addition to sexual behavior after she underwent breast augmentation surgery. Duffy repeatedly exposed her “post-augmentation breasts” to staff and patients at the clinic, according to the complaint. She also reportedly rubbed them against staff and allowed or permitted drug salespeople to feel her breasts while staff or patients were present.
In early 2012 Duffy allegedly placed her hands on the head of Complainant R.
“Dr. Duffy pulled Complainant R’s head between Dr. Duffy’s breasts and asked Complainant R to ‘motor boat’ her,” the complaint states.
“Motor boating” is slang for a person moving his or her face back and forth between another person’s breasts and making a sound like a boat engine.
“Later that same day, Dr. Duffy grabbed Complainant R by the back of her head and kissed her on the lips,” the complaint continues.
Complainant R told Duffy the actions were unwelcome and asked her to stop. Duffy said Complainant R was being a “titty baby,” the complaint states.
Complainant R cited the alleged sexual abuse — and Duffy throwing a chair at her — as reasons she quit her job.
Duffy kicked a chair at an employee, verbally abused people and was prone to “temper tantrums,” according to the complaint.
The board investigation stems back to at least 2012 and includes the complaints, an audit, an inspection, at least one hearing and subpoenaed documents. In April the board hired a medical doctor licensed in West Virginia to review information obtained during the investigation.
The doctor found Duffy didn’t discuss pain medication options with patients, instead telling them to choose their own pain medications, and that many patients received a “prescription concoction” of pain and anxiety medications “without clear documentation of a specific medical justification.” The doctor also found patient records were “scant and contradictory.”
“The continued licensing of Dr. Duffy to practice medicine and surgery in the State of West Virginia presents a danger to the public due to her violations of the West Virginia Medical Practice Act,” the complaint concludes.
The board has taken action against Duffy in the past related to illegal prescriptions.
In 2009 she was charged with felony prescription fraud and conspiracy to commit prescription fraud, according to a Berkeley County court document posted online by the Martinsburg Journal newspaper.
Duffy worked with a local pharmacist to obtain a prescription under another person’s name, the report states. After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of insurance fraud Duffy agreed to pay a $500 court fine and other court costs, according to the Herald-Mail newspaper in Hagerstown, Maryland.
The Board of Medicine determined in February 2010 the crime was “the result of a series of extraordinarily poor decisions on the part of Dr. Duffy in her personal life” but not related to patient treatment.
She was publicly reprimanded and agreed to undergo counseling for 18 months.
Duffy hadn’t started receiving treatment by late August 2010, resulting in another complaint by the board. In March 2011 she was fined $1,000, again publicly reprimanded and ordered to complete the 18 months of counseling.
Lilly said there are no criminal charges pending against Duffy “that we’re aware of.”
Duffy first received a license to practice medicine in 1999 after graduating from the West Virginia University School of Medicine. In May WVU noted on its website Duffy was recently honored by two medical organizations.
“Over her 13 years in practice, Dr. Duffy has continued to demonstrate the passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for patient care necessary to be considered a Top Physician in her field,” WVU’s website states.
Duffy is required to attend a hearing in November if she wants to keep her license. The hearing, scheduled to start Nov. 17, is before a doctor hired by the board as a hearing examiner.
The full board has the right to accept, reject or modify the hearing examiner’s findings.
Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at wwww.Twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.