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Connecticut doctor accused of unethical relationship with patient

File: Dr Nicholas Bennett at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in 2014.
Lucy Nalpathanchil
Connecticut Public
File: Dr. Nicholas Bennett at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in 2014.

State health officials have asked the Connecticut Medical Examining Board to revoke Dr. Nicholas Bennett's license or take other disciplinary action.

A prominent doctor who previously worked at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center faces potential disciplinary action after being accused by state health officials of engaging in an “unethical” relationship with one of his patients several years ago.

Investigators from the Connecticut Department of Public Health have filed a statement of chargesagainst Dr. Nicholas Bennett, who was formerly division head of infectious diseases and immunology at Connecticut Children’s.

The document, filed in May 2022, alleges Bennett “engaged in an unethical intimate and/or sexual relationship” with one of his patients. DPH has asked the state’s Medical Examining Board to revoke Bennett's license or take other disciplinary action it deems appropriate.

We reached out to Bennett and received a response from his lawyer who said: “Dr. Bennett adamantly denies the charges against him, they remain unproven, and we hope to reach a resolution of the matter with the Department of Public Health soon.”

Connecticut Children’s said Bennett left the organization before the charges were filed.

In the charging document, DPH investigators wrote that the patient sought and obtained medical treatment or advice from Bennett on a variety of matters between 2017 and 2018 and that Bennett allegedly “used information derived from his treating relationship“ with the patient to “groom” the patient “for an intimate and/or sexual relationship.”

The Accountability Project has learned the patient described in the statement of charges is an adult.

A DPH spokesperson declined to comment on the case.

Zita Lazzarini, director of the Division of Public Health Law and Bioethics at UConn, said intimate relationships with patients are viewed by the medical community as unethical because doctors are in a position of power.

“If you have a doctor-patient relationship, you should not be having a romantic or sexual relationship,” Lazzarini said, speaking generally, and not specifically about Bennett’s case.

“That’s in the American Medical Association code of ethics,” she said. “It's been backed up by their council of ethical and judicial affairs, all the way back into the early ’90s.”

Bennett has had a medical license in Connecticut since 2011. Prior to that, he was licensed in New York between 2009 and 2011. The New York Department of Health website shows no charges against Bennett have been filed in the state.

Bennett resides in Florida. The Accountability Project confirmed with the Florida Department of Health that he currently does not have a medical license in the state. However, the department said he applied for one in 2019 and withdrew the application in 2020.

Bennett’s Connecticut license remains active while charges are pending, but it expires in April. This case could go to a hearing, where a final decision would be handed down by the state medical examining board, but a date has yet to be set.

Bria Lloyd joined Connecticut Public as an investigative reporter for The Accountability Project in November 2022. She’s also the co-host of the station’s limited series podcast, 'In Absentia'.

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