Doctor facing claims of negligence

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comDecember 5, 2012 

— An accusation against a doctor in Los Banos was filed with the Medical Board of California earlier this year, and a settlement conference is scheduled for next month.

The accusation against Dr. Suzanne White, 46, lists gross negligence as well as repeated negligent acts, excessive prescribing, prescribing dangerous drugs without prior examination and medical indication, and record keeping.

White has not had a hearing on any of the accusations, according to her records on the medical board's Web site.

A settlement conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 in Sacramento, at which parties involved lay out their cases and try to reach an agreement to resolve the issues.

If no agreement is reached, the case goes to a hearing. A hearing is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. March 11 in Sacramento.

The case was filed April 5.

Dan Wood, the board's public affairs officer, said that by law, the board is not able to discuss information from any ongoing case.

White said the patients who are mentioned in the accusation were already on pain medication when they came to her. "I've been getting them off" the pain medication, she said. "I have worked with them."

She said she's been able to get one patient off pain medication and another patient will be off in a few months as well.

"I don't know what I'm doing wrong," she said.

White said there's no way for her to find out what some patients had been getting from other doctors or pharmacies unless she calls the pharmacy where she sends her prescriptions.

"Things need to be fixed in the system," she said.

White said she's been practicing since 1999. "I take very good care of my patients," she said.

According to the accusation, White is subject to disciplinary action related to her care and treatment of four patients.

White is accused of having "prescribed and increased the daily dose of Hydrocodone morphine equivalent dosage from 40 mg to a dangerous dosage of 480 mg of Oxycodone morphine equivalent," for one patient, according to documents.

With the same patient, White is accused of having "failed to make a treatment agreement with the patient pertaining the use of a controlled substance," according to the documents.

The complaint requests that a hearing be held and that the medical board issue a decision to revoke or suspend White's Physician and Surgeon's Certificate, or revoke, suspend or deny approval of White's authority to supervise physician assistants.

If White is put on probation, she could be ordered to pay the board the cost of monitoring. The board could take other action it deems necessary.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

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