The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday disciplined six doctors, including fining a Norwalk doctor $5,000 for prescribing high doses of opioids to a prison inmate and other patients without proper safeguards.
The board also suspended the license of a family medicine physician from Westport, saying his excessive drinking of alcohol presents a “clear and immediate danger” to the public.
In the Norwalk case, the board also reprimanded Dr. Martin Perlin and limited his ability to prescribe painkillers.
Between 2013 and 2015, Perlin prescribed high doses of opioids without adhering to standard safeguards, state Department of Public Health records show. One of the patients was incarcerated during the time that Perlin prescribed drugs for him, the records show.
Perlin denied the allegations, but chose not to contest them. Under a consent order, the board imposed a permanent restriction on Perlin’s license barring him from prescribing painkillers except for patients in acute pain, not to exceed 15 days, and for terminally ill patients.
In the Westport case, DPH records show that Dr. David S. Parnas underwent alcohol detoxification at Norwalk Hospital in February, when he reported that he drank a pint of vodka a day for the past two years.
In May, he enrolled in HAVEN, a confidential state program for health-care professionals dealing with substance abuse issues, but records show that he has provided the program with no evidence of abstinence or recovery. DPH officials said they cannot verify that Parnas can practice medicine safely.
Parnas’ attorney, Glenn Gazin of Stamford, told the board that Parnas has been safely working at a New Canaan walk-in clinic without complaint for the past month. The doctor monitoring Parnas’ work has been pleased with the quality of care he is providing, Gazin said. He added that Parnas attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings nearly every day.
This is the second time this year that the medical board has disciplined Parnas. In March, it had reprimanded him and placed his medical license on probation for two years for his failure to appropriately prescribe narcotics to patients.
In March 2013, Parnas surrendered his permit to prescribe controlled substances, a consent order he signed in March said. A DPH consultant found that Parnas failed to document narcotic prescription doses, failed to adequately evaluate pain and did not adequately monitor medication use by patients between 2008 and 2013, the consent order said. Parnas did not contest the allegations.
On Tuesday, the board also fined a family practice physician from New London $2,000, reprimanded him and placed his license on probation for six months for endangering a patient on Dec. 2, 2013, records show.
The patient complained to DPH in 2014 that Dr. Steven P. Johnson let the person drive to the emergency room from Johnson’s office with symptoms of a loss of energy, dizziness and a heart rate of 31. A DPH consultant found that Johnson had placed the patient at “extreme risk” for a heart attack and should have transported the patient by ambulance to the emergency room.
By signing the consent order, Johnson chose not to contest the allegation while admitting no wrongdoing.
Two board members, Michele Jacklin and Dr. Robert Green, voted against the consent order, saying the penalty should have been more severe given the serious nature of the incident.
On Tuesday, the medical board also disciplined three doctors for misconduct or lapses in care in other states. State law allows the Connecticut board to discipline doctors who have licenses in Connecticut when they have been disciplined in other states.
The board reprimanded Dr. Vlad Frenk, an anesthesiologist from Stamford, for writing anesthesia records between 2004 and 2008 indicating two different procedure dates when he knew they were performed on a single patient in New York on a single date. New York officials said he also failed to properly treat two patients, records show.
In 2013, New York officials fined Frenk $10,000 and placed his license on probation for three years, records show. New Jersey officials also reprimanded him in 2015.
The board also reprimanded Dr. Thomas D’Amato of Bayonne, New Jersey, in connection with discipline he had received in New York state in 2015. New York officials had placed his license on probation based on allegations that in 2010, he filed false reports about two patients, saying he had performed psychiatric evaluations on them when he had not, according to a DPH consent order D’Amato signed in March,
The order said D’Amato in 2010 also filed a false report when renewing his New York license, saying he had not resigned any hospital privileges when in fact, he had done so the previous year.
The board also reprimanded Dr. Sharad Kothari of Lenox, Massachusetts in connection with discipline handed out by Massachusetts officials in February.
Officials in that state reprimanded him for giving the superintendent of his building 60 tablets of a narcotic without examining or creating a medical record for the person, DPH records show.