Darien Pediatrician Fined, Reprimanded

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A Darien pediatrician has been fined $10,000 and reprimanded by the state for improperly removing 40 doses of flu vaccine meant for low-income children in 2010 from the Greenwich Hospital Pediatric Clinic for use in his private practice.

The Connecticut Medical Examining Board approved the reprimand and fine as part of a consent order on Nov. 15, that also placed Dr. John M. Dubaz of Darien Pediatrics Associates on probation until he completes a course in ethics and performs 40 hours of free medical service. The course and pro bono work are to be completed within six months under the order.

A state Department of Public Health case summary concluded that Dubaz’s dealings with the clinic and management of vaccine inventory were “unprofessionally casual and a violation of state regulations.”

Dubaz, who joined the practice in 1989 and has served as a school physician in Stamford, did not respond to a call seeking comment.

A DPH investigative report said that in October 2010, a nurse at the hospital reported that the doses were missing. An investigation was launched, and the hospital received an anonymous letter saying that Dubaz was responsible for the missing vaccines.

A medical assistant came forward in December 2010 and said she gave the doses to Dubaz as part of a “good neighbor policy,’’ the state report said.  Dubaz, the report says, first denied taking the vaccines, and then later provided a statement through an attorney admitting that he borrowed the doses to use in his own practice because he had not received his state allotment.  He said he intended to replace the vials when his own shipment arrived, the report said.

By the time he tried to replace the vaccines, the security code in the medication room at the hospital had been changed and he said he didn’t want to get the medical assistant in trouble, the report said.

Dubaz told investigators that vaccine transfers among doctors happen all the time and the vaccines were used in good faith, the report said.

The vaccines were part of the federal Vaccines for Children Program, administered by DPH, providing free vaccinations to children who might otherwise not be able to afford them.