State finds Bellingham doctor didn't meet standard of care

A Bellingham doctor’s license has been placed on oversight for two years after the Washington State Department of Health found his conduct unprofessional after he failed to address the symptoms of a woman later diagnosed with rectal cancer, according to Department of Health records.

Dr. Craig K. Moore was charged Feb. 28, 2017, with unprofessional conduct after his record keeping practices fell below the standard of care, records show. In an early May 2018 hearing, the Department of Health found there were “weaknesses in his medical record keeping practices that lead to the creation of an unreasonable risk of patient harm.”

Moore, who has held a license as a surgeon and physician since 1989 and specializes in sports medicine, will be subjected to oversight for two years. He will also have to attend continuing education classes on medical record keeping and hold a discussion, write a paper within the next four months comparing his past and future record keeping and how it will alleviate patient harm, and have unannounced practice reviews during each year, the records state.

Moore is also required to pay a $2,500 fine.

According to Department of Health records, the woman first visited Moore on May 5, 2015, for a new patient exam after moving to Bellingham. She reported a variety of symptoms, including blood in her stool.

Moore did not review the woman’s intake forms prior to seeing her and didn’t ask her about her symptoms, records state, instead relying on the woman’s verbal answers to his questions. Moore also did not perform a complete examination of the woman during her appointment or do any tests.

He should have done an abdominal and rectal exam and provided the woman with a colonoscopy referral, records state, but instead did neither and recommended a prostate screening for the female patient.

The woman returned at least three more times with similar complaints and either no exams were done or the woman’s initial complaints of bloody stool weren’t addressed, the records show.

In July 2015, the woman saw another doctor at the advice of her family. She had a colonoscopy in September and was diagnosed with rectal cancer in October 2015, according to the records.

Moore’s treatment fell below the standard of care because he didn’t adequately address the patient’s complaints, and his “documentation was incomplete, duplicative and incorrect,” according to the records.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt