The state Board of Medicine voted to dismiss its disciplinary case against a doctor accused of telling a patient she was so obese she might only be attractive to black men and advising another to shoot herself following brain surgery.

The board's decision Wednesday essentially lets stand a judge's decision that Dr. Terry Bennett was within his rights to say things that might be offensive.

"That's wonderful," said Bennett's lawyer, Benjamin King. "I look forward to receiving the order."

The complaints included charges that Bennett humiliated a white woman by telling her she was so obese she might only be attractive to black men. A 2001 complaint accused Bennett of telling a woman recovering from brain surgery to buy a pistol and shoot herself to end her suffering.

In June, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Edward Fitzgerald ruled that doctors have a right to free speech even when their comments insult or offend patients.

The decision may not mean the end of the controversy. Bennett has said he hopes to sue everyone involved.