Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by meowee, May 30, 2009.

  1. meowee

    meowee New Member




    SUSPENDED Virginia Beach doctor teaching at Medical Careers Institute in Newport News

    May 22, 2009
    NEWPORT NEWS — A Virginia Beach doctor whose medical license was suspended last year after five patients in his care died is now teaching in Newport News.

    Rheumatologist Dr. Stephen Plotnick had his medical license suspended for 24 months in August 2008, and is teaching an anatomy and physiology course at Medical Careers Institute in Newport News, the School of Health Science at ECPI College of Technology.

    Plotnick's license was suspended after at least five of the patients he was treating for fibromyalgia died. The legal order between Plotnick and the Virginia Board of Medicine said Plotnick refilled prescriptions without examining patients and failed to insist, in some cases, on protections that are standard with the prescribed narcotics.

    The Virginia Board of Medicine's findings also state that Plotnick let some patients "guide (their) own medication selection," prescribing more than one drug and letting patients decide which to take and how much. In several cases, he kept prescribing the narcotics after patients, their families and other doctors complained that they were overmedicated or having problems with the medication, according to board documents.

    The board's report goes on to describe the deaths of five patients from overdoses or toxic concentrations of drugs Plotnick prescribed.

    Plotnick was hired about a month ago to teach the anatomy and physiology course after he applied for the position and underwent the college's screening process, according to Mark Dreyfus, president of ECPI College of Technology.

    Plotnick is not the only suspended doctor teaching at a local college. In 2005, Dr. James Shegog, a Newport News physician, had his license suspended for 16 months after nine of his patients died. Shegog is now teaching anatomy and physiology at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton.

    "Dr. Plotnick's issue with the Virginia Board of Medicine is not something we took casually when he applied," Dreyfus said. "We weighed the issue and decided it was more of a benefit to the students to have him here, rather than not hiring him because of the fear of what he may or may not have done."

    After Plotnick applied for the position, he was interviewed by faculty members and required to lead a teaching demonstration in front of his peers.

    "He's not teaching students how to dispense medications, and the course he's teaching is not dealing with the treatment of fibromyalgia," Dreyfus said. "We don't require instructors to have a medical license to teach here, so the issue with the Virginia Board of Medicine is irrelevant to the credentials in teaching anatomy and physiology."

    There have been no formal complaints by faculty or students at the college about Plotnick teaching, according to Barbara Larar, interim president of the institute's Newport News campus.

    Students have, however, contacted the Daily Press via a news tip line.

    "Many students object to being taught by him, and the administration doesn't care and is not giving any option to switch teachers," one concerned student wrote in an e-mail. "Nor did they inform any of the students of this man's past. Someone recognized him from the news and Google'd his name."

    Once Plotnick's two-year suspension is up, he can petition the Board of Medicine to have his license reinstated.

    "We knew in hiring him that there may be some issues that would come up," Dreyfus said. "But we hoped people would feel that people deserve to get a second chance. We believe that for our students and Dr. Plotnick."

  2. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    I totally agree with you. Why didn't he go to prison for murder like everybody else ?
  3. Rockismom

    Rockismom New Member

    Isn't this sort of "damned if you do or damned if you don't" type of case?

    I for one applaud MY rhuemy for allowing me to try different medications and for giving me prescriptions for the narcotic and controlled medications THAT WORK!!!!

    I have gone through more rx's in the past nine years than I care to remember to get to where I am today. And if I had taken EVERYTHING I have in my medicine chest I wouldn't be here tapping right now. I would have been on that cold steele slab al long time ago. But I have enough sense to know that you don't mix some medications and you don't take more than the prescribed dose.

    No, I'm not pain free but at least I know what, how much and when I can take each medication that I "use" and when I was in doubt there were times when I took nothing... rather than taking an risk...and yes, I suffered. I'm still here to talk about it though!

    Anytime I have been given medications "to try" the first thing I do is READ THE LABEL! If I have questions I ask my Dr. or my Pharmacy.

    Patients must take ownership and be responsible for what they put into their bodies.

    Am I not getting the whole story? Did this doctor murder his patients... or did he do what he could do HELP them while all along they were taking advantage of him because he was trying administer to them?

  4. meowee

    meowee New Member

    I have just finished detoxing myself. This is the third and, I pray, FINAL time. I was on oxycontin, ultram, soma and ativan. I would go to the pain clinic and they'd give me OPANA which is HORRENDOUS. I had enough and went off this junk on my own.

    I see how people don't realize, tho, they could die. I know for myself, I was on oxy 30 mg. QID. I was up to taking 8 a day as 4 didn't cut it. I was not functioning. I had terrible brain fog, never awake, memory loss plus just all around doped out feeling.

    I did this on my own, but some may not realize they are overdosing. Drugs affect everyone differently.

    No matter, this doctor, IMO, should be in prison.
  5. butterflydream

    butterflydream New Member

    This doctor's license should Never be reinstated.

  6. DemonFairy

    DemonFairy New Member

    Yeah, to be honest, I don't totally get it either, although I've read more details here - http://hamptonroads.com/2009/01/5-patients-died-his-watch-now-his-license-line

    Frankly, it sounds like he had quite a few less than, uh, smart patients. I agree with you that if I don't completely understand a medication, I read more about it, I ask my doctor more about it, and then finally, I discuss it with my pharmacist. Apparently, it sounds like a lot of other people don't do that. It would never be possible for my doctor to overmedicate me, because I take responsibility for what goes in my body and I'm well aware of drug side effects. I guess doctors have to prescribe for the lowest common denominator, and if they "don't understand" the dosing of their meds, you just can't give them anything. Although, you can overdose on water, so some of these people would've killed themselves regardless of how much or how little this doctor prescribed for them.

    In most cases, I blame the patients, because generally they need to understand what they're taking, why they're taking it, how they should be taking it, etc. It's not fair to blame a doctor for someone's intentional overdose or intentional misuse of medication. I would really need to know more about these particular patients to know whether to blame the doctor or the patient for the overdoses. Were they suicidal and did he know it? Were they functionally retarded and did he know it?

    Like you, I'm so grateful that my doctor has trusted me enough to allow me to try lots of different meds in order to find what works best for me. I have bottles of meds that I've weaned off of, bottles of meds that I didn't particularly like because of the side effects, etc. I didn't just take everything my doctor gave me just because he prescribed it. There is such a huge variation of how meds effect us all differently. My partner and I have tried some of the same meds, but have had completely different reactions to them. For instance, Robaxin pretty much does nothing for me, yet it helps her. My pain med dosage is more than twice hers because my body develops a tolerance really quickly. Although, both of us didn't seem to get much help from morphine-based meds like MS Contin or Dilaudid, yet Oxycodone and Oxycontin help both of us. For me, MS Contin & Dilaudid didn't seem to help at any dose and I was smart enough to know that if it wasn't helping at what seemed like a pretty high dose, I should probably just stop taking it before I overdosed w/o getting any pain relief. It seems like this doctor's patients weren't capable of thinking like that and just took whatever was prescribed, even when they said that they felt "overmedicated". Well, duh, if I feel "overmedicated", I'm going to take less than what's prescribed because obviously my body isn't reacting well to that medication or that dosage.

    I know I don't want to be treated like an idiot by my doctor, but it seems like in order to protect themselves, some doctors are going to have to treat every patient like they have the intelligence and common sense of a not overly bright five year old.

    So, the answer to your question is no, the doctor didn't actually murder his patients. He probably thought he was helping them, but he seemed kind of careless and his patients seemed not overly bright. Perhaps I'm wrong and his patients were geniuses, but the summary of the cases that I read made it seem like these patients were unable to take responsibility for what they put into their own bodies. Maybe if their families were so concerned, they needed to dole out the prescriptions *for* the patients, not allow them to have the full bottles.

    I would need to know more about both the patients and the doctor, but right now I'm not comfortable calling the doctor a "murderer".
  7. DemonFairy

    DemonFairy New Member

    I just read the comments on that blog from some of Dr. Plotnick's patients. I don't know, it seems like the majority are grateful for his help, like I am for the help I've gotten from my doctor. I know that my doctor was sued by at least one patient because I was there when the process server came, but I don't know anything about the case. I could see how my doctor, who prescribes narcotics, could end up being blamed for a patient's lack of personal responsibility. I know that my partner and I are both grateful for his help, and I see that many of Dr. Plotnick's patients felt the same way about him. So, I remain undecided, and unless I'm on a jury, I'll probably never know the important details about the patients who overdosed. Did they abuse their meds? Were they suicidal? Did they keep taking more meds even when they felt sick from too high a dose? I know that the first time I took a 7.5mg Lortab, it made me throw up. Was the dose too high? No, I just wasn't used to the medication and by the time I took my third dose, it didn't make me feel nauseous anymore. Now, my body laughs at a 7.5mg Lortab.