Med Board Revokes Doctor’s License, Rejects Penalty For Stonington Physician

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The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday revoked the medical license of a Bristol doctor who had inappropriate sexual conduct with female patients while working in Maine.

Also, the board rejected a consent order that would have reprimanded and fined Dr. David Burchenal of Stonington $3,000 for failing to provide adequate follow-up care for a patient who later died of cancer. Some members said they wanted a stiffer penalty.

“This is nothing,’’ board member Dr. Robert Green said of the fine. “A man died.”

The Bristol doctor, Mohammad Aljanaby, will lose his license for engaging in inappropriate physical or sexual conduct with female patients while working as a doctor at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville, Maine in 2012.

The board found that Aljanaby poses a threat in the practice of medicine and lied in 2014 when he said there was no disciplinary action pending against him when he applied to renew his license in Connecticut, records show.

By that point, Maine officials were investigating complaints against him from patients and had already denied him a medical license, records show.

In the Stonington case, the consent order said that Burchenal failed to follow-up on test results that showed a patient’s red blood cell count was abnormally high in 2011 and 2012. In December 2014, the patient complained of blood in the urine and Burchenal did not order any treatment, records show.

Within a month, the patient, George Ruffo, 69, a lawyer from Stonington, died of cancer of the urinary system. Burchenal did not contest the allegations in the consent order while admitting no wrongdoing.

In a letter to the state Department of Public Health, Ruffo’s wife, Carol, wrote that her husband had been a patient of Burchenal’s for 12 years and that Burchenal “failed to address clear signs” in her husband’s lab reports and failed to refer him to a specialist.

Her husband died two weeks after being diagnosed with stage four cancer, she wrote, too late for effective treatment.

“Needless to say, our family was traumatized by those events,’’ she wrote. “He never had a chance to fight.”

Carol Ruffo, who filed a complaint with DPH about Burchenal’s care of her husband, wrote that she was glad the state is taking action but is concerned that it is not reviewing all of his patients’ lab reports going back several years to make sure his current patients are protected.

She and her sons, Lee and David Rohde, attended the meeting, but declined to comment. Burchenal’s attorney, Eugene Cooney of Hartford, told the board it was an oversight with the patient’s lab reports and the doctor has since thoroughly reviewed his practice to make sure nothing like it would happen again.

On Tuesday, the board also imposed a one-year probation on Dr. James Bucci of Colchester and required him to hire a practice supervisor who would send quarterly reports to DPH.

Records show that Bucci failed to meet the standard of care for four patients by inadequately documenting their use of opioid medications between 2005 and 2011 and again in 2015.

Bucci chose not to contest the charges while not admitting wrongdoing. Bucci has taken additional courses on pain management, prescribing of opioids and medical documentation, records show.

The board also refused to lift state orders that Dr. Avijit Mitra, a Hamden psychiatrist, be barred from prescribing controlled substances for himself and his wife and that he be permanently restricted from prescribing Suboxone to anyone. Suboxone is used to treat drug addiction.

His lawyer, Penny Q. Seaman of New Haven, who had asked the board to lift the state restrictions, said that it is keeping the board of Adult and Adolescent Psychiatry from renewing his certification. Mitra, a psychiatrist, is employed by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services as a clinician at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.

She added that Mitra has voluntarily relinquished his federal registration to prescribe Suboxone and has agreed not to prescribe controlled substances for himself or his family.

The medical board had imposed the restrictions in 2015 when it found that Mitra had prescribed Oxycontin, Xanax and Suboxone to two patients without examining the patients. Records show that Mitra had already paid $55,000 in state and federal fines for improperly prescribing controlled substances for himself, his wife and others.

DPH staff attorney David Tilles asked the board to keep the restrictions in place, saying they were needed to protect the public.

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