KENNEWICK -- A Kennewick obstetrician and gynecologist charged with unprofessional conduct for allegations he improperly cared for a cancer patient denied the charges this week, claiming the patient was "noncommittal" about follow-up treatments.
The Herald on Friday obtained a response Dr. John C. Perry filed to the noncriminal charges by the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, the state agency overseeing medical licensing.
The commission claims Perry failed to get a qualified surgeon to "stage" the patient's cancer -- which determines the extent and location of the cancer in a patient's body -- and that Perry failed to refer her to a specialist to get chemotherapy until after she sought treatment on her own in Spokane.
Perry's answer, filed late Thursday, claims that Perry offered to refer the patient to a specialist in Spokane or Seattle when he discussed surgical options for her cancer.
"Patient A chose not to be referred but to have her surgery in the Tri-Cities with the assistance of a general surgeon for a total hysterectomy and surgical staging," documents said.
The woman reportedly told the commission she asked Perry several times after the surgery if she would need chemotherapy and should she see an oncologist. Perry told her she would get chemotherapy at Kennewick General Hospital, but he never scheduled the appointments, the charges said.
The commission alleges the woman immediately should have been referred to a specialist to discuss additional therapies.
Perry denies the commission's allegation that he told the woman he was a specialist and the best doctor to treat her cancer.
The commission claims Perry also asked a general surgeon to perform a lymphadenectomy on the woman, but the surgeon had not performed that procedure for several years and had done relatively few in his career.
"The surgeon recovered only one lymph node, rather than the multiple nodes that commonly should have been recovered for staging," documents said.
Perry's answer said the surgeon was board certified to perform the procedure and was the patient's choice.
In January 2010, the patient reportedly asked why she had not been sent to the Tri-Cities Cancer Center for chemotherapy.
Perry allegedly told her he "did not like the people there and would not refer her to their care," documents said.
In the current case, the patient went on her own in January 2010 to a gynecological oncologist in Spokane and reportedly asked Perry to send her records to that doctor.
Afterward, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center called her to schedule an appointment on a delayed referral from Perry, the charges said.
Perry's answer claims he made the referral before he knew the woman had seen another doctor.
Perry's license is currently under a four-year probation based on allegations he violated standards of care for six patients, causing complications for several of them.
He also was accused of performing surgery on a woman with whom he had a romantic relationship in order to get her pregnant.
He denied the charges, but opted to settle with the commission in March 2010, documents said.
Perry remains able to practice under probation until he gets a hearing.
Charges by the commission are not criminal, but can affect a physician's ability to practice in Washington.
No hearing date has been scheduled on the new allegations.