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Colorado school officials stand by Holmes' psychiatrist's record

July 29, 2012|Molly Hennessy-Fiske

AURORA, Colo. -- A University of Colorado spokeswoman on Sunday said officials stand by the record of a university psychiatrist who according to court records had been treating James E. Holmes, a doctoral student accused of opening fire on a crowded movie theater here a week ago.

Dr. Lynne Fenton, 51, is an assistant professor at the university as well as medical director of the student mental health service at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, according to an online resume -- the same campus where Holmes had been a neuroscience doctoral student until he began the process of withdrawing in June.

Colorado Medical Board records show officials disciplined Fenton in 2005, issuing her a letter of admonition and requiring her to take a documentation course.

Fenton was reprimanded for prescribing medication to herself, her husband and an employee in the late 1990s, including Vicodin, Xanax, Lorazepam and Ambien, according to state documents posted online by 7News. She was also reprimanded for failing to maintain medical charts. She had to complete more than 50 hours of medical training and promise not to prescribe medications to family members or employees, according to 7News.

"The practice of medicine is strengthened by the public disclosure of information reviewed by the Board of Medical Examiners. While the incidents arose prior to Dr. Fenton working for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, she disclosed them to CU when she was hired," University of Colorado spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said in a statement released to The Times on Sunday.

"Her supervisors believed at the time, and still believe, that the incidents do not in any way adversely impact her faculty and clinical responsibilities," Montgomery said.

Fenton graduated from UC Davis in 1982 and Chicago Medical School in 1986. She completed a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern University Medical Center in 1990. After working as chief of physical medicine for the  U.S. Air Force in San Antonio, as a physician in Aurora, and later as an acupuncturist, she completed a second residency in psychiatry at the University of Colorado, according to her online resume.

Before the movie theater massacre last week, Holmes had been seeing Fenton, and he mailed her a package containing a notebook, according to a motion filed by his public defenders last week.

A judge is expected to consider that motion when Holmes appears in court in Centennial on Monday morning to face murder charges in connection with the July 20 theater shooting that killed a dozen people and wounded 58.

On Sunday, 10 patients from the theater shooting remained hospitalized: 

* Five at the University of Colorado Hospital, three of whom were in critical condition. One was in serious condition and another was in fair condition.

* Three at the Medical Center of Aurora, one in critical condition, one serious and one fair. 

* Two at Swedish Medical Center, both in fair condition. 

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