State Medical Board Disciplines 3 Doctors

The state Medical Examining Board disciplined three doctors on Tuesday, including fining a Norwich doctor $7,500 for failing to keep his prescription pad secure.The board also reprimanded the doctor, John Paggioli, who specializes in pain management. In addition to not providing adequate security of his prescription pad, Paggioli had pre-signed a blank prescription for a patient and held controlled substances in his office for various patients, a consent order he agreed to said.

Though he denied any wrongdoing, Paggioli chose not to contest the allegations, the order said.

“He absolutely learned from this,” the doctor’s lawyer, Hilary Fisher Nelson of Hartford, told the board. “He has implemented a system that is safe.”

The discipline grew out of a 2016 investigation by the Drug Control Division of the state Department of Consumer Protection that began when a pharmacist reported a possible forged prescription in Paggioli’s name, records show. He has since passed three unannounced state inspections, records show.

In 2016, the medical board had fined Paggioli $4,000 for failing to secure his prescription pads, leading to several fraudulent prescriptions being taken to local pharmacies.

The board also fined a Stamford doctor $7,500 for coming to work in 2017 impaired by alcohol or opiates ingested to alleviate post-surgical pain, state records show.

The Stamford Hospital doctor, Kim Zeh, who was also reprimanded, came to work at an urgent care center impaired, a consent order she signed said. Zeh was sent home and saw no patients that day, the order said. She has undergone a chemical dependency evaluation that was negative and that found she was safe to practice medicine, the order said. Zeh did not admit wrongdoing but chose not to contest the allegations, the order said.

The board also reprimanded Dr. Stephen Harris, an internal medicine doctor from Cheshire, for discarding patient files in a dumpster when closing his medical practice in Waterbury in January, state records show. Tipped off by an anonymous call, officials from the state Department of Public Works went to the office that day and were able to retrieve the records.

Harris, who did not contest the allegation, will also have his license suspended for six months, the order said. He was ordered to take courses in ethics and patient confidentiality during the probation.

Also on Tuesday, the board rejected a consent order that would have imposed a $25,000 fine against a Weston psychiatrist who let his secretary sign prescriptions for controlled substances for herself and for patients he had not examined.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Harry Brown, would also have been reprimanded and had his license placed on probation for two years under the order. Brown has surrendered his state registration to prescribe controlled substances.

Board members said the proposed discipline was not stringent enough.

From 2014 to 2017, Brown prescribed opioids without documenting an exam or diagnosis for various patients, the order said. Brown also failed to take required medical education courses from 2013 to 2016 and lied about the courses on his license renewal application, the order said.

If the order had been approved, it would have been the fourth time that Brown had been disciplined by the medical board, including for practicing medicine for four years without malpractice insurance and breach of patient confidentiality, state records show.

“He has a bad track record,’’ Dr. Robert A. Green, a board member, said. “This is a recidivist.”

The case now returns to the state Department of Public Health, which is expected to file charges against Brown and hold a hearing on the allegations.

 

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