The state Medical Examining Board fined a New London obstetrician $5,000 Tuesday for mistakenly cutting ligaments on the sides of a woman’s uterus instead of the fallopian tubes during a tubal ligation.
The board also imposed a year of probation on the medical license of Dr. Jeffrey Simpson, who made the error on March 28, 2013 at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London. Simpson did not contest the findings of the medical board and signed a consent order agreeing to the penalty on Oct. 24 of this year.
Simpson also agreed to hire a physician to randomly review a portion of his patient records for surgeries he performed, the consent order said. The physician will monitor Simpson’s practice for a year.
A state Department of Public Health memorandum dated May 7, 2013 said that the error occurred while Simpson was performing a cesarean section and a tubal ligation on a patient. A pathologist at the hospital was doing reviewing of a tissue specimen Simpson had removed and determined it was not from a fallopian tube, the memo states. The error was reported to DPH, which began an investigation of Simpson on May 8, 2013.
Simpson attended the meeting but did not speak and Simpson’s lawyer, Tom Boyce of New London, declined to comment Tuesday.
Mike O’Farrell, a spokesman for Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, said Simpson remains a member in good standing on the medical staff but declined to comment further.
In 2001, the medical board had fined Simpson $1,000 for not obtaining written consent for an artificial insemination procedure, state records show.
In an unrelated case, the board fined Dr. Alkesh Patel of Southington $5,000 and placed his medical license on probation for a year for improperly prescribing medicine for his wife and an employee. In a memorandum of decision, the board said it found that Patel had prescribed injectable Dilaudid seven times in 2012 for his wife to treat her migraine headaches without maintaining proper medical records.
The board also said it found that 14 times between 2011 and 2012, Patel prescribed the same powerful painkiller for the employee’s migraines without maintaining proper medical records.
The medical board also found that in June 2012, he wrote a prescription for 60 doses of the same painkiller, also known as hydromorphone, for a patient, and with Patel’s knowledge or at his direction, his wife filled the prescription and paid a co-pay. Patel received the drug from his wife and stored it in a locked drawer in his desk, the memorandum said. The patient did not receive the drugs, and Patel said he flushed them down a toilet and did not give it to any other patient, the memorandum said.
The board found that Patel deviated from the standard of care by allowing or directing his wife’s actions.
His lawyer, Richard Brown, had objected to Patel’s wife’s health condition being included in the memorandum of decision that Patel agreed to, but DPH staff attorney David Tilles wrote that the information included in the memorandum is considered public information under the state Freedom of Information Act.
After a lengthy discussion about the issue, the board approved the fine and probation by an 8-2 vote, with chairperson Kathryn Emmert and Rabbi Dov Greer, a board member, voting no. The board then decided to create a working group to study ways to balance the public’s right to know versus the ability to protect the privacy of patients whose cases come before the board.
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