POULSBO — Narinder M. Duggal, M.D., of Liberty Bay Internal Medicine is charged by the state Department of Health's Medical Quality Assurance Commission with unprofessional conduct, sexual misconduct and abuse.
The allegations are outlined in a 32-page Statement of Charges filed Nov. 28 by the commission, and details six separate cases in which Duggal allegedly failed to properly examine patients, overprescribed medication, made sexual advances toward one patient and engaged in a sexual relationship with another.
According to the Statement of Charges, Duggal has the right to appeal. If he fails to defend himself against the charges, he faces disciplinary action. The Statement of Charges was signed by Maryella Jansen, executive director of the commission; and Assistant Attorney General Kristin G. Brewer.
"We don't have any comment for you," said a woman who answered the phone Thursday at Liberty Bay Internal Medicine. She said Duggal was not available.
Duggal was licensed Aug. 18, 1998. According to his website, Duggal is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and earned a bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences and served a clinical pharmacy residency. He earned his medical degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
The Statement of Charges was filed Nov. 28. A Statement of Charges means the state Department of Health believes there is enough evidence to warrant a hearing. According to the Department of Health website, when a complaint regarding a healthcare provider is received, it is reviewed to decide if the incident or event is a violation of the law and if the Health Department has legal authority to take action. If the department determines the allegation might be a violation, and there is legal authority to take action, then it conducts an investigation.
“We manage each case throughout the disciplinary process. We work with investigators, staff attorneys, and the Office of the Attorney General to identify violations and evaluate evidence,” the Health Department website states. “If the evidence does not support the complaint then the complaint is closed. If violations are found, the case is presented to a panel of members from the department, board, or commission for approval to take action.”
Disciplinary actions that may be taken against a healthcare provider include fines, counseling, practice limitations, or suspension.
Most charges against Duggal claim he failed to effectively research his patients’ medical histories and/or document their history with him. For example, a patient seeking treatment for detoxification using Subutex therapy — an opiate withdrawal program — did not receive proper treatment after Duggal failed to obtain medical records from the previous two-and-a-half years. Duggal did not try to contact the patient's previous physicians, the document states.
In another allegation, a patient claimed Duggal made advances toward her, and forced "his tongue down her throat" and touched her breast during an examination. The woman changed providers.
The most recent alleged misconduct occurred in September 2011, when Duggal allegedly had sexual intercourse with a patient and had asked her for sexually explicit photographs.