Local Doctor Accused of Abusing Drugs and Alcohol

A San Diego doctor continues to treat patients despite the fact that he may lose his medical license for abusing alcohol and powerful narcotics, including Oxycodone. The emergency room doctor admitted to stealing another doctor’s prescription pad in order to write himself 5 prescriptions for Oxycodone and Endocet. However, the doctor’s lawyer stated he believes his client is not a threat to patients because he is no longer impaired and has completed a drug rehabilitation program. Furthermore, the article reported the doctor put his medical license at risk with a DUI conviction in 2011. According to the president of the local Medical Society, research has shown doctors have a higher rate of drug and alcohol abuse than the general public.


Orange County Doctor Arrested on Suspicion of Possessing Child Pornography – Dr. Pete Thomas, accused of possessing thousands of pornographic images involving children, turned himself in to a judge Tuesday (Sam Spital)

COMMENTARY BY SAM SPITAL, California Professional License Attorney and San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer:

“A Podiatrist surrendered himself after an arrest warrant was issued for felony possession of child pornography per an account by the NBC Channel 7 online news edition on December 12, 2012. Little if anything else was reported in the article, and most importantly there was no explanation, mitigation and/or defense noted.

A Doctor of Podiatry is trained in foot care and, therefore, can diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions related to the foot, ankle, and lower extremities.

A check of the Board of Podiatric Medicine website indicates Dr. Pete Thomas has been licensed in California since July 1, 1990. It is likely the Board will open an investigation if it does not already have one in place. Upon evaluating the evidence if it can be established there exists a sufficient basis for disciplinary action, the matter will be submitted to the Office of Attorney General to file an Accusation seeking to suspend or revoke his license to practice podiatry. An administrative hearing would then be scheduled in which an Administrative Law Judge would hear the evidence, including written and oral testimony. The Deputy Attorney General must prove the case by clear and convincing evidence, which burden of proof is much less than a criminal case that requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, but much greater than in a civil case in which one need only present a preponderance of evidence to prevail.”

Physician charged with unprofessional conduct

A Tennessee physician was arrested for DUI and charged with unprofessional conduct.

Ernest Kleier was unhappy with the state Medical Board Decision that took action against his license for a DUI. He argued the charge of unprofessional conduct was constitutionally vague because it did not spell out what “unprofessional, dishonorable, or unethical conduct” meant. On appeal, the Court agreed with Kleier, at which point the state medical board appealed to the state Court of Appeals; the Board prevailed in the case and their Decision was sustained.

Does a state medical board have the right to inquire into any act or omission that is related to the duties and functions of a licensed medical doctor and any other professional or occupational licensee? It has been opined that driving under the influence of alcohol evinces poor judgment since it places the driver, anyone else in the vehicle, and others on the road in danger of an accident and/or injury. However, this is a slippery slope and now some state Boards consider an infraction with a fine of $300 or more a basis for disciplinary action. This makes it even more prudent to retain an experienced state board license defense attorney when applying for licensure, renewing a license and if one ever is contacted by a state board seeking to interview, talk to and/or meet with you or someone you know in that situation. It is possible to negate and disprove the charges at the criminal stage of the case by a compelling defense and offense; and, it is the practice of Spital & Associates to provide a comprehensive legal and factual written presentation in addition to marginalize the case at the Board level.


Chargers doctor steps down

David Chao, the team doctor for the Chargers, stated this Thursday that he’ll be stepping down. He’s been with the team for 17 seasons.

Chao said he wants time to spend with his wife and children, and also has a back injury that will require him to get surgery this month. He said his time spent with the Chargers has been great, and said he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

However, controversy has surrounded Chao’s time with the Chargers. In the past few years, it has been reported that he has had two drunk driving citations, several medical malpractice lawsuits, a public reprimand from the California medical board, and an investigation into his record keeping by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Additionally, at a Super Bowl news conference in January, some New Orleans official demanded that Chao be replaced.

However, the Chargers stand by their doctor, saying that he was part of the team.

Doctor sues pharmacies for wrongful blacklisting

Dr. Roy H. Simon sued Target and Rite Aid, claiming that he was wrongfully blacklisted from their pharmacies.

He claims that they will not fill his patients’ prescriptions, and falsely told them that he is on a federal “watch list.”

Dr. Simon’s medical license was placed on probation in April of 2011, but the suspension was overturned by the Sacramento Superior Court in September of 2012. Thus, he says he was placed on this list in error.


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