State suspends Castle Clinic internist Robert Allen

Gary B. Gray • Jul 13, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Johnson City internist Robert Allen, who was practicing at the Castle Clinic until charged in Washington County Sessions Court with felony evading arrest, reckless driving, felony schedule VI drug charges, prohibited weapons violation and vandalism, has had his license to practice suspended by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.

The suspension was issued June 22 and hand delivered to a receptionist at Woodridge Psychiatric Hospital. Notice of suspension was then given to Allen, according to the order. The suspension will remain in effect until the conclusion of the case against him or until otherwise ordered by the board.

“He is under a summary,” Tennessee Health Department Communications Director Woody McMillin said Thursday. “But when someone is arrested, it does not mean their license is automatically revoked.”

Following several unsuccessful telephone inquiries and messages left with the clinic’s answering service, a drive by the location revealed nothing but locked gates. Hours later, a handmade sign appeared on the Castle Clinic’s closed wrought iron gates at 1416 S. Roan St.

“Due to Dr. Allen’s decision to close the business we are no longer in business,” the sign reads.

A plastic-covered sheet of white office paper was strung with wire and hung at an angle.

The Johnson City clinic had remained open after Allen, 63, an internist who practiced there, was accused of leading Johnson City police on a high-speed chase a few weeks ago. He was reportedly wearing nothing but a bathrobe and underwear and had a loaded gun and a machete in his truck, according to a police report.

The chase ended when Allen drove through his own yard and ran into his house. He emerged about 15 minutes later marching in front of his garage with an American flag and honking a bicycle horn. Along with the gun and the machete, police found 29 grams of marijuana in the center console of Allen’s truck.

The order for summary suspension explains that Allen “engaged in unprofessional and unethical conduct and is unsafe to practice medicine.”

He initially was housed in Washington County Detention Center and placed under suicide watch, but was released on his own recognizance on bond and admitted to the psychiatric hospital on or around June 12, according to the order.

Department of Health investigator Patricia Daugherty attempted to interview Allen at the detention center on June 11. For her safety, jail personnel did not allow her to meet with him in the same room, stating that he had been violent that day. Instead, Daugherty was placed in one room, and Allen was placed in another room with a pane of glass separating the two, the order reveals.

As soon as the interview began, Allen stated that he was not practicing medicine anymore and that he was on disability. Daugherty asked why he was on disability and Allen responded by saying it was “none of her business,” according to the order.

He then said “I don’t want to practice medicine anymore. I quit!” Allen then told Daugherty he was closing his business. Asked when that might be, he answered, “Over the weekend.”

The order states that he then became angry, pressed his face against the glass and said, “I’m done. I’m done with you, the board, and anything you stand for. You got that? You can go back to wherever you came from.”

Daugherty also interviewed Allen’s staff from which a consensus was formed that he had not been himself for the past few weeks to few months, according to the order.

The board determined these and other facts were sufficient to establish that Allen had violated Tennessee laws, including unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct [TCA 63-6-214(b)(1)], and engaged in the practice of medicine when mentally or physically unable to safely do so [TCA 63-6-214(b)(18)].

State law also allows for Allen to present his version of the facts to the board. It is not known if Allen responded to the June 28 conference date in Nashville.

The notice attached to the clinic’s entrance includes the following information: “Patients needing medical records please call (423) 979-6257.”

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