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Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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Sherman pain doctor’s license suspended after deaths, indictment

Medical malpractice is defined essentially as causing harm to a patient by failing, negligently or intentionally, to perform medical services to the generally accepted standard of care. When we talk about malpractice, we usually do so in the context of a civil lawsuit brought by the patient or surviving family members.

Sometimes, an act of malpractice can also be criminal in nature. That appears to be the case with a North Texas doctor who was recently arrested after seven people died of overdoses after being treated by him at a pain clinic. He is accused of conspiring with others to distribute controlled substances and possession of controlled substances with intent to deliver, along with healthcare billing fraud and money laundering.

The 56-year-old doctor, who works at a pain and wellness clinic in Sherman, allegedly supplied unnecessary prescriptions for opioid pain medications such as hydrocodone, morphine and even fentanyl. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is only prescribed for severe pain, such as advanced cancer pain. All opioids carry a serious risk of addiction.

According to the Dallas Morning News, seven people died between 2012 and 2016 after receiving prescriptions for painkillers from this doctor, and they weren’t all from North Texas. The deceased patients came from as far away as Oklahoma.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that the doctor wrote the second-largest number of opioid prescriptions of all Texas doctors in 2014, and the 24th-largest nationwide.

Medical license temporarily suspended after indictment issued

On Thursday, the Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended his license without notice. The disciplinary panel determined that his continuing to practice medicine would represent a threat to public welfare. A hearing on the temporary suspension is expected to be held as soon as possible unless the doctor decides to waive his right to one. The temporary suspension will not automatically expire but will remain in place until the Board takes action.

In 2015, he had been required to submit a remedial plan after being found to have “failed to maintain adequate medical records documenting his care and treatment of chronic pain patients,” according to Claims Journal. He apparently concluded that plan successfully a year later.

Prosecutors plan to seek permanent revocation of his medical license. If convicted of the crimes, he faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

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