On July 13, 2016, a Maryland internal medicine physician who practiced pain management agreed to surrender his medical license “to avoid further prosecution of the disciplinary charges now pending,” following the Maryland Board of Physicians’ investigation into complaints against him regarding his alleged prescribing opioid pain medications to patients in exchange for sex.
In surrendering his Maryland medical license, the physician acknowledged that the Board had determined that he had failed to meet the standard of quality care with regard to five patients, and that he had engaged in unprofessional conduct toward four pain management patients, including sexual misconduct with three of the patients. The physician also acknowledged that the Board had determined that his documentation was inadequate with regard to nine patients, and that he had engaged in unprofessional conduct toward two employees of his former medical practice location in Maryland.
The Maryland physician is board-certified in internal medicine but has no formal training in pain management, despite the patient population he served in which one-in-four patients is a chronic pain patient. The Maryland physician was a member of a primary care group practice with five locations in Maryland, including a location in Annapolis, Maryland, where the physician practiced.
Peer reviewers who undertook a review of the Maryland physician’s records of ten patients on behalf of the Board found that the Maryland physician had failed to adequately document appropriate physical examinations relating to areas treated for chronic pain, for six patients; that the Maryland physician had failed to enforce or document adequate justification for failure to enforce the terms of the narcotics contract for three patients; that the Maryland physician had failed to adequately document justification for modification of CDS dosages for six patients; that the Maryland physician’s use of non-narcotic pain modalities for chronic pain patients was inadequate for two patients; that the Maryland physician had disregarded “red flags” signifying possible abuse or diversion of CDS and continued prescribing opioids and other CDS without adequate precautions, for three patients; that the Maryland physician had failed to adequately monitor patients on long-term CDS therapy with urine toxicology screening, for five patients; etc.
The Board also investigated a complaint from a former patient alleging that the Maryland physician had made “sex offers” to her in order for her to receive pain prescriptions. The patient was in her 60s and began seeing the Maryland physician for pain management and other conditions, for which she was prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines. The patient was subsequently discharged from the medical practice for allegedly not following the directions of her medical provider as it related to the chronic use of narcotic medications. Despite the discharge, the Maryland physician allegedly repeatedly telephoned the patient over the course of several days, asking her to reconsider his sexual advances. Three weeks after the patient was discharged from the medical practice, the Maryland physician issued a prescription to the patient for 60 tablets of oxycodone 30 mg.
The Board’s investigation led to another patient who alleged that the Maryland physician had provided her and another family member with CDS prescriptions, for “sexual activity.” The woman was a patient of the medical practice but was not a patient of the Maryland physician and had not been treated by him. The Maryland physician allegedly telephoned the woman on three occasions, which the woman described as “creepy.” The Maryland physician acknowledged that he had called the woman, but claimed that he had done so on only one occasion and that he had not spoken to her in an inappropriate manner.
A third patient, in her 30s and who had a history of drug abuse, alleged that the Maryland physician provided her with 120 tablets per month of Percocet for “back pain” and also provided her with Xanax for anxiety. The woman claimed that the Maryland physician made flirtatious and perverted comments to her during her monthly appointments. The patient told the Board that after about six months, the Maryland physician told her that he would not supply her with further CDS prescriptions unless she provided him with sex. The Maryland physician continued to provide the patient with multiple prescriptions for oxycodone. During her final visit with the Maryland physician, he allegedly became aggressive in his attempt to engage in sexual activity with her and she ran out of the examination room. The patient alleged that she continued to see the Maryland physician in the office after hours, and that he provided her with prescriptions for CDS in exchange for sexual acts. The Maryland physician had provided the patient with over 40 prescriptions for CDS, including oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall.
A fourth patient, who was related to the third patient, was in her 20s when she was seen by the Maryland physician for a physical examination. The Maryland physician allegedly asked her if her back hurt, and prescribed her oxycodone and Xanax. A few months later, during an office visit, the Maryland physician allegedly told the patient to “lay down on the bed and take my pants off.” When the patient refused, the Maryland physician allegedly refused to provide her with a prescription for oxycodone. After three months of refusals to provide the patient with prescriptions, the patient alleged that she received her prescriptions after performing oral sex on the Maryland physician (the patient alleged that she performed oral sex on the Maryland physician on three separate occasions in the medical office).
Assuming that the Board’s findings, and the patients’ allegations, against the Maryland physician are true, then perhaps the Maryland physician’s voluntary surrender of his Maryland medical license, and the Board’s acceptance of same, were insufficient discipline for such outrageous and improper behavior that put his patients’ health and their lives at serious risk of harm.
If you or a family member suffered serious injury in Maryland or in another U.S. state that may be due to medical negligence, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a Maryland medical malpractice case (or a medical malpractice case in your state), if appropriate.
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