I FIND THIS OUTRAGEOUS. HE KILLS A MINIMUM OF FIVE PEOPLE AND GETS A 24 MONTH SLAP ON THE WRIST. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE MEDICAL PROFESSION? I COULD CRY READING THIS. YOU PUT YOUR LIFE IN THEIR HANDS FOR HELP AND GUIDANCE. THIS IS WHAT WE GET. 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."