Med Board Fines Anesthesiologist After Patient Death, Revokes Two Licenses

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A Trumbull anesthesiologist who mistakenly administered a fatal dose of Lidocaine to a patient during surgery in May 2013 was reprimanded and fined $7,500 Tuesday by the state Medical Examining Board.

Dr. Sandra Congdon made the mistake while the patient was undergoing surgery at the Surgery Center of Fairfield County in Trumbull, state Department of Public Health records show. When the patient’s blood pressure dropped during the procedure, Congdon inadvertently administered the anesthetic Lidocaine instead of Hespan, which is used to expand blood plasma when a patient goes into shock, records show.

The patient showed no pulse and received cardiac life support before being transferred to the emergency department at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, DPH records show. The patient died, and a medical examiner ruled the cause of death was acute Lidocaine toxicity, records show.

The Trumbull center filed a plan with the state showing it had corrected its procedures because of the incident, and Congdon has attended a seminar on patient safety and risk management, records show. Congdon did not dispute the findings concerning the patient’s death in a consent order issued by DPH.

In a busy meeting in Hartford Tuesday, the board also revoked the Connecticut medical license of a doctor who is in prison in Miami for working at an illegal “pill mill” in Florida where people easily obtained the painkiller oxycodone.

In 2011, the board had suspended the license of Dr. Vernon Thomas Atreidis after he was one of 13 physicians arrested in Florida in connection with what prosecutors called one of the largest illegal prescription drug networks in the nation. The multi-million dollar scheme has been blamed for more than 50 overdose deaths, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Atreidis, of Jupiter, Fla., spent his days writing oxycodone prescriptions at a pain clinic in West Palm Beach, the Post reported.

Formerly of New Haven, Atreidis surrendered his Florida medical license and pleaded guilty in October 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with the  drug case, Connecticut Department of Public Health records show. From 2009 to April 2010, Atreidis prescribed oxycodone to patients without a legitimate medical reason and without consulting their medical records, referring them to specialists or recommending alternative treatment, DPH records show.

After providing a tearful apology in federal court in January of 2012, he was sentenced to 66 months in prison, the Post reported. The state of New York has also revoked Atreidis’ medical license.

The board also revoked the medical license of a Watertown doctor, fined a Wallingford physician assistant $4,500, fined another Wallingford doctor $3,500, reprimanded a New London doctor, reprimanded a former Litchfield doctor and placed her on probation for a year, reprimanded a doctor from Nashville, Tenn. and reprimanded a doctor from Westerly, R.I.

Tuesday’s actions included:

• Dr. Mary Jane Brackett’s license was revoked for lapses in care of a patient with an opiate addiction between 2009 and 2011. DPH records show Brackett of Watertown prescribed drugs to treat the addiction while failing to order frequent drug tests, even after the woman tested positive for heroin and cocaine.

The board also found that Brackett failed to have at least monthly visits with the patient, prescribed the drug Suboxone without an office visit and failed to document the patient’s course of treatment. The board also found that Brackett had “abandoned the patient in 2011 – placing the pregnant woman and her fetus at risk for withdrawal when she refused to complete insurance paperwork, records show.

Brackett was reprimanded for prescribing drugs used to treat addiction to too many patients, violating a federal requirement that she not subscribe them to more than 100 patients at a time. The board found that Brackett had written 211 of the prescriptions in October 2012 and 165 prescriptions in November 2012, records show.

The board has disciplined Brackett several times in the past few years. In September, it fined her $5,000 and suspended her medical license for 20 years for failing to comply with a 2012 order from the board. State records show that Brackett failed to pay a $1,000 fine, provide a physician to monitor her practice or take a course on medical record documentation. The 2012 sanctions were imposed on Brackett for making a false accusation against a patient’s father to state child protection officials.

The board also reprimanded Brackett for having a loud argument and a physical struggle with the mother of a patient in 2011. Brackett was arrested and pleaded guilty to creating a public disturbance, DPH records show.

• Dr. Andrew Metzger of Wallingford was reprimanded and fined $3,500 in connection with a 2010 case in which a fetus died at 24 weeks gestation, records show. The board found that in June 2010, Metzger failed to follow up on a lab report showing an abnormal test for the Kell antigen, records show. The board found Metzger should have referred the pregnant patient to a specialist for high-risk care.

Three months later, the woman underwent a Caesarean section because the baby had died. The cause of death was ruled as “due to fetal hydrops” – an accumulation of fluid – “related to maternal red cell antibody to the Kell antigen,” DPH records show.

• Ravjeet Singh, a physician assistant from Wallingford, was fined $4,500 for failing to keep his prescription pad secure. In October 2012, Singh had left a blank pad in his car during a time when an acquaintance with a history of substance abuse had access to the car, records show. The case came to light that month when three fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone were submitted to pharmacies in Southington with Singh’s name on them, records show. Singh told state officials he had not authorized the prescriptions.

• Suzanne Klekotka, an internal medicine physician in New London, was reprimanded and placed  on probation for a year with supervision to prescribe controlled substances, records show.

DPH found that in 2008-2009, Klekotka deviated from the standard of care with seven patients when she wrote prescriptions for painkillers before previous prescriptions had run out and without adequate examinations or record keeping. DPH also found that she had written prescriptions for controlled substances for her husband and son without keeping adequate records.

• Dr. April Mott was reprimanded and placed on probation for a year for failing to properly maintain medical records in 2011 and 2012 and for failing to provide some patients with copies of their records after she closed her Litchfield practice in 2010, records show.

• Dr. Jonathan Oppenheimer, a Nashville pathologist, was reprimanded for an incident in Delaware in which he rendered a medical opinion about a biopsy sample without being able to practice in Delaware, records show. That state reprimanded him in 2012 and officials with reciprocal agreements in California, Iowa, South Dakota, New York, Kentucky and Michigan have also reprimanded Oppenheimer, records show.

• Dr. Lisa Noyes-Duguay of Westerly, R.I. was reprimanded for prescribing drugs to two relatives in Rhode Island without the appropriate medical records. In October, Rhode Island officials reprimanded her and fined her $1,500, records show.






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