Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

New Zealand doctor struck off after US sex

New Zealand authorities act against GP.
Picture / Getty Images
Picture / Getty Images

A North Island doctor has been struck off a year after he was suspended in America for having sex with a patient.

Nickolas Soumelidis has been removed from New Zealand's medical registry indefinitely and his credentials were cancelled by the Medical Council on February 26.

The Herald on Sunday has learned that Soumelidis had been working as a GP and is the same man cited in a 2015 sanctioning by the Board of Registration in Medicine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It is not known how long he had been working in New Zealand, or if his past was known here.

The Medical Council would not comment, and the GP could not be contacted. It is understood there have been no complaints about Soumelidis during his time here.

Documents from last year's US sanctioning detail how Soumelidis was temporarily suspended on January 22 last year, after a hearing found he had "sexual activity" with a patient. The medical board determined the "health, safety, and welfare of the public" required him to stop practising immediately.

Soumelidis was working at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Massachusetts, when on July 9, 2014, a 40-year-old woman with chest pains was taken to the emergency department by ambulance. She had a "full-blown panic attack" and an abnormally rapid heart rate.

The patient, who had a history of anxiety and panic attacks, explained she had an unhappy marriage and felt vulnerable. Soumelidis responded by telling her "she was a beautiful woman and she needed to live life for herself".

Before the woman was discharged the next day, Soumelidis asked for an embrace and "engaged in a full frontal hug".

He also prescribed her anti-anxiety drug klonopin.

After she left hospital the pair began exchanging text messages. The woman sought advice about medication. Soumelidis "shared information regarding his marriage and children" before telling the woman he had been attracted to her during her hospital admission.

On July 11 the pair met in a car park where Soumelidis "gave her a hug and kissed her". They planned to go out for dinner the following night and on July 12 "engaged in sexual activity" at a hotel.

Two days later Soumelidis returned to his home in Florida and on July 15 he told the patient "his wife had found their texts and that he could not see her again".

The US documents state Soumelidis was first licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts in 2007 under the name Nickolay Poliansky.

He changed his name to Nickolas Soumelidis in January 2009.

- Herald on Sunday

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