The state Medical Examining Board issued a $5,000 fine and a reprimand to an orthopedic surgeon who operated on the wrong knee of a patient in 2018 and temporarily suspended the medical license of a Colchester physician assistant who is accused of falsifying documents and excessively using alcohol and marijuana. Dr. Christopher Betz, who works at Starling Physicians, failed to follow the pre-incision protocol and failed to independently verify which knee was the site of the operation prior a procedure that took place at Bristol Hospital on Sept. 14, 2018, according to state Department of Public Health (DPH) documents. The error wasn’t reported by DPH’s Facility Licensing and Investigations Section (FLIS) to its Practitioner Licensing and Investigations Unit, which investigates complaints against physicians, for the board until July 19, 2019 after Bristol Hospital was the subject of an unannounced inspection by federal health authorities, documents said. Bristol Health reported the medical error as an adverse event on Sept.
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) will investigate physicians accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines designed to combat the virus if a complaint is filed, officials said. Christopher Boyle, DPH spokesman, said that if the agency receives a complaint that a physician was spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, the Practitioner Investigation Unit will investigate. In July, the Federation of State Medical Boards warned physicians that they could face disciplinary action by a state medical board for spreading disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. DPH said that there is no mechanism for monitoring social media or other forms of media for doctors who are spreading misinformation. By state law, the public has no way of knowing if a physician is under investigation until a resolution to the complaint comes before the state Medical Examining Board months, or possibly years, from the filing of the complaint.
The state Medical Examining Board voted Tuesday to place two doctors on probation, including a pediatrician accused of excessive alcohol use. Dr. Christine Cornachio of Simsbury, the pediatrician, is required to submit to random urine testing and individual therapy with a licensed professional as part of a consent order approved by the board that will allow her to continue practicing at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center during the five-year probationary period. Cornachio came under investigation by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in June after the agency was notified by the Health Assistance Intervention Network, known as HAVEN, in accordance with state law. HAVEN helps medical professionals with mental health, medical and substance abuse problems. State statute requires HAVEN to report any licensed medical practitioner who did or could pose a harm to patients or declines services after being referred due to a mental health, medical or substance abuse problem. An investigation determined Cornachio utilized alcohol to excess on at least four occasions from 2014 to March 2019, the consent order said.