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College re-imposes license suspension on Dr. David Russell of Mount Uniacke

The Hearing Committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia has re-imposed a suspension of the license of Dr. David Russell of Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia. The suspension is effective as of Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in effect until further determination by the Hearing Committee.

As a result, Dr. Russell is no longer permitted to engage in the practice of medicine.


College issues consensual reprimand to Dr. Peter Littlejohn

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia hereby gives notice that on Thursday, March 30, 2006 pursuant to Section 53(12) of the Medical Act, Dr. Peter Littlejohn of New Waterford, Nova Scotia has consented to a reprimand issued by the Investigation Committee of the College.

Investigation Committee “A” determined that the following actions with respect to one or more of Dr. Littlejohn’s patients constituted professional misconduct and was deserving of a reprimand:

1. Inadequate assessment of substance abuse;

2. Insufficient referrals to pain management consultants;

3. Failure to follow the recommendations of consultants;

4. Inappropriate prescribing of opioids prior to trials of non-opioid therapies;

5. Inappropriate formulation of opioids for patients with substance abuse problems;

6. Inappropriate initial and/or final dosages of opioids;

7. Inappropriate opioid dose increases;

8. Failure to recognize or take appropriate action in cases of suspected diversion of opioids; and

9. Failure to recognize or take appropriate action in cases of significant opioid toxicity.

Investigation Committee “A” also ordered that Dr. Littlejohn relinquish his prescribing privileges for all narcotics and controlled substances for a period of five years, following which the Committee shall consider removal of this restriction if Dr. Littlejohn, within the year prior to his application to lift the restriction, has successfully completed an educational program or programs approved by the Committee respecting prescription practices and addiction medicine, including a period of preceptorship in prescription practices.

The Committee’s finding of professional misconduct, and the restrictions imposed by the Committee will be entered on Dr. Littlejohn’s formal discipline record.


College issues consensual reprimand to Dr. Peter Littlejohn of New Waterford

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia hereby gives notice that on Thursday, March 30, 2006 pursuant to Section 53(12) of the Medical Act, Dr. Peter Littlejohn of New Waterford, Nova Scotia has consented to a reprimand issued by the Investigation Committee of the College.

Investigation Committee “A” determined that the following actions with respect to one or more of Dr. Littlejohn’s patients constituted professional misconduct and was deserving of a reprimand:

1. Inadequate assessment of substance abuse;

2. Insufficient referrals to pain management consultants;

3. Failure to follow the recommendations of consultants;

4. Inappropriate prescribing of opioids prior to trials of non-opioid therapies;

5. Inappropriate formulation of opioids for patients with substance abuse problems;

6. Inappropriate initial and/or final dosages of opioids;

7. Inappropriate opioid dose increases;

8. Failure to recognize or take appropriate action in cases of suspected diversion of opioids; and

9. Failure to recognize or take appropriate action in cases of significant opioid toxicity.

Investigation Committee “A” also ordered that Dr. Littlejohn relinquish his prescribing privileges for all narcotics and controlled substances for a period of five years, following which the Committee shall consider removal of this restriction if Dr. Littlejohn, within the year prior to his application to lift the restriction, has successfully completed an educational program or programs approved by the Committee respecting prescription practices and addiction medicine, including a period of preceptorship in prescription practices.

The Committee’s finding of professional misconduct, and the restrictions imposed by the Committee will be entered on Dr. Littlejohn’s formal discipline record.


College issues consensual reprimand to Dr. Wayne Gorman

On February 20, 2006 Dr. Wayne Gorman consented to a reprimand issued by Investigation Committee “A” of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.

Investigation Committee “A” determined that a reprimand was warranted due to the following:

1. In 2000, Dr. Gorman obtained a prescription for a narcotic for self use, claiming that another physician would be writing the prescription for it; and

2. Between 1998 and 2000 Dr. Gorman wrote numerous prescriptions for narcotics for self use.

Investigation Committee “A” noted that in the course of resolving the complaint against him, Dr. Gorman followed a rehabilitation program directed toward recovery. In September 2001, Dr. Gorman voluntarily withdrew from the practice of medicine. Dr. Gorman was monitored for substance abuse, and was found not to have relapsed. On April 30, 2002 , Investigation Committee “A” agreed that Dr. Gorman could return to the practice of medicine as an operating room assistant. Investigation Committee “A” requires the approval of the Credentials Committee of the College prior to any change in the scope of Dr. Gorman’s current practice as operating room assistant.

In addition to the consent reprimand, Dr. Gorman has agreed to relinquish his prescribing privileges for all narcotics and controlled substances.

The Committee’s decision constitutes a finding of professional misconduct/professional incompetence that will be entered on Dr. Gorman’s formal discipline record.

A copy of Dr. Gorman’s reprimand is available HERE.


College issues consensual reprimand to Dr. Richard Baron Stern

On February 21, 2006 Dr. Richard Stern of Kentville , Nova Scotia consented to a reprimand issued by Investigation Committee “A” of the College.

The consent reprimand arose from a complaint filed by the family members of patient X, who had been admitted to an intensive care unit of a hospital. With respect to the conduct of Dr. Stern in his care of patient X, Investigation Committee “A” determined that a reprimand was due to the following:

1. With respect to a morning visit made by Dr. Stern to patient X, Dr. Stern failed to document this visit;

2. With respect to a subsequent visit by Dr. Stern to patient X, Dr. Stern failed to appropriately document this visit and in particular to include his findings and his plans for the patient;

3. For a three hour period, Dr. Stern failed to document any interaction with patient X;

4. Between the hours of 0815 to 1105 he failed to attend on a timely basis to patient X; and

5. Despite patient X’s symptoms of critically low blood pressure and low urinary output, there was no evidence of a fluid challenge by Dr. Stern to address these symptoms and no use of invasive monitoring such as central venous pressure monitoring, arterial cannulation, or pulmonary artery catheter.

The Committee’s decision constitutes a finding of professional misconduct/professional incompetence that will be entered on Dr. Stern’s formal discipline record.

A copy of Dr. Stern’s reprimand is available HERE.


College issues consensual reprimand to Dr. Wayne Gorman of Yarmouth

On February 20, 2006 Dr. Wayne Gorman consented to a reprimand issued by Investigation Committee “A” of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.

Investigation Committee “A” determined that a reprimand was warranted due to the following:

1. In 2000, Dr. Gorman obtained a prescription for a narcotic for self use, claiming that another physician would be writing the prescription for it; and

2. Between 1998 and 2000 Dr. Gorman wrote numerous prescriptions for narcotics for self use.

Investigation Committee “A” noted that in the course of resolving the complaint against him, Dr. Gorman followed a rehabilitation program directed toward recovery. In September 2001, Dr. Gorman voluntarily withdrew from the practice of medicine. Dr. Gorman was monitored for substance abuse, and was found not to have relapsed. On April 30, 2002 , Investigation Committee “A” agreed that Dr. Gorman could return to the practice of medicine as an operating room assistant. Investigation Committee “A” requires the approval of the Credentials Committee of the College prior to any change in the scope of Dr. Gorman’s current practice as operating room assistant.

In addition to the consent reprimand, Dr. Gorman has agreed to relinquish his prescribing privileges for all narcotics and controlled substances.

The Committee’s decision constitutes a finding of professional misconduct/professional incompetence that will be entered on Dr. Gorman’s formal discipline record.

A copy of Dr. Gorman’s reprimand is available HERE.


College issues consensual reprimand to Dr. Richard Baron Stern of Kentville

On February 21, 2006 Dr. Richard Stern of Kentville , Nova Scotia consented to a reprimand issued by Investigation Committee “A” of the College.

The consent reprimand arose from a complaint filed by the family members of patient X, who had been admitted to an intensive care unit of a hospital. With respect to the conduct of Dr. Stern in his care of patient X, Investigation Committee “A” determined that a reprimand was due to the following:

1. With respect to a morning visit made by Dr. Stern to patient X, Dr. Stern failed to document this visit;

2. With respect to a subsequent visit by Dr. Stern to patient X, Dr. Stern failed to appropriately document this visit and in particular to include his findings and his plans for the patient;

3. For a three hour period, Dr. Stern failed to document any interaction with patient X;

4. Between the hours of 0815 to 1105 he failed to attend on a timely basis to patient X; and

5. Despite patient X’s symptoms of critically low blood pressure and low urinary output, there was no evidence of a fluid challenge by Dr. Stern to address these symptoms and no use of invasive monitoring such as central venous pressure monitoring, arterial cannulation, or pulmonary artery catheter.

The Committee’s decision constitutes a finding of professional misconduct/professional incompetence that will be entered on Dr. Stern’s formal discipline record.

A copy of Dr. Stern’s reprimand is available HERE.


College releases Hearing Committee Decision in Dr. David Russell case

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia announced today the release of a Hearing Committee Decision incorporating a Settlement Agreement in the case of Dr. David Russell, a Family Physician in Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia.

Dr. Russell has agreed that he is guilty of professional misconduct and/or professional incompetence arising out of physical or mental incapacity. He has also agreed that he has a substance dependency which has adversely impacted his ability to practice medicine.

Specifically, he has admitted to the following allegations contained in the Settlement Agreement:

Commencing in or about September 2003, he used narcotics or other controlled substances by taking oral doses of Demerol, Percocet and MS-Contin from office supplies of these medications intended for patients, and/or from medications that had been returned to his office by patients.

In or about the Fall of 2003, he began using other opiates, including injectable Demerol and MS-Contin.

On or about January 14, 2004, following a self-injection of morphine, he took a barbiturate that had been returned by a patient, causing him to be impaired while seeing patients and causing him to be taken to the emergency department of a hospital.

Following an agreement he reached with the College to refrain from taking narcotics or other controlled substances, and agreeing to attend random urine monitoring to prove such abstinence, he breached such agreement in that on or about August 19, 2004, he tested positive for cannabinoids.

In accordance with the Settlement Agreement, Dr. Russell’s license will remain suspended effective Thursday, November 24, 2005. For three months following this date, he will be required to submit to random tests for prohibited substances. If he maintains negative results during this period, his license suspension will be lifted and he will be eligible to re-apply for a license to practice medicine.

Dr. Russell will be subject to random testing for prohibited drugs for five years following the execution of the Settlement Agreement. If this testing uncovers evidence of further prohibited drug use, or if there is any other violation of the Settlement Agreement, his license will be immediately suspended and his case will be referred to a Hearing Committee of the College.

Dr. Russell has agreed to abstain from prohibited substances, to surrender his authority to prescribe controlled substances, and to refrain from self-prescribing or prescribing for family members. He will visit regularly with a family physician and psychiatrist, who will document and report on his compliance with his recommended treatment.

Dr. Russell has agreed to pay $25,000 as a contribution toward the costs incurred by the College in its investigation and resolution of this matter.

A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available HERE. Sections of the Settlement Agreement have been removed to protect Dr. Russell’s confidentiality.


College releases Hearing Committee Decision in Dr. David Russell case

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia announced today the release of a Hearing Committee Decision incorporating a Settlement Agreement in the case of Dr. David Russell, a Family Physician in Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia.

Dr. Russell has agreed that he is guilty of professional misconduct and/or professional incompetence arising out of physical or mental incapacity. He has also agreed that he has a substance dependency which has adversely impacted his ability to practice medicine.

Specifically, he has admitted to the following allegations contained in the Settlement Agreement:

Commencing in or about September 2003, he used narcotics or other controlled substances by taking oral doses of Demerol, Percocet and MS-Contin from office supplies of these medications intended for patients, and/or from medications that had been returned to his office by patients.

In or about the Fall of 2003, he began using other opiates, including injectable Demerol and MS-Contin.

On or about January 14, 2004, following a self-injection of morphine, he took a barbiturate that had been returned by a patient, causing him to be impaired while seeing patients and causing him to be taken to the emergency department of a hospital.

Following an agreement he reached with the College to refrain from taking narcotics or other controlled substances, and agreeing to attend random urine monitoring to prove such abstinence, he breached such agreement in that on or about August 19, 2004, he tested positive for cannabinoids.

In accordance with the Settlement Agreement, Dr. Russell’s license will remain suspended effective Thursday, November 24, 2005. For three months following this date, he will be required to submit to random tests for prohibited substances. If he maintains negative results during this period, his license suspension will be lifted and he will be eligible to re-apply for a license to practice medicine.

Dr. Russell will be subject to random testing for prohibited drugs for five years following the execution of the Settlement Agreement. If this testing uncovers evidence of further prohibited drug use, or if there is any other violation of the Settlement Agreement, his license will be immediately suspended and his case will be referred to a Hearing Committee of the College.

Dr. Russell has agreed to abstain from prohibited substances, to surrender his authority to prescribe controlled substances, and to refrain from self-prescribing or prescribing for family members. He will visit regularly with a family physician and psychiatrist, who will document and report on his compliance with his recommended treatment.

Dr. Russell has agreed to pay $25,000 as a contribution toward the costs incurred by the College in its investigation and resolution of this matter.

A copy of the Settlement Agreement is available HERE. Sections of the Settlement Agreement have been removed to protect Dr. Russell’s confidentiality.


College issues consensual reprimand to Dr. Thomas Hydorn

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia hereby gives notice that as a result of a complaint and pursuant to Section 53 (12) (h) of the Medical Act, Dr. Thomas Hydorn of Amherst has elected to accept a reprimand issued by the College as final resolution of the matter.

A reprimand is a finding of professional misconduct that is entered on a doctor’s formal discipline record.
Dr. Hydorn’s pattern of prescribing was deemed irresponsible in the following areas and was found to put the patient, and potentially the community, at risk:

1) Benzodiazepine prescribing:

a) lack of clear assessment and diagnosis to support benzodiazepine prescribing;

b) the prescribing of high doses of benzodiazepines in the context of opioid dependency;

c) the issuing of benzodiazepine prescriptions for large amounts of many years;

d) the issuing of individual prescriptions for large amounts for up to 3 months; and

e) the continuation of benzodiazepine prescribing for patient “X” even after the police raised suspicion of diversion of the benzodiazepines and after aberrant drug related behaviour.

2) Opioid prescribing:

a) lack of clear assessment and diagnosis and plan surrounding the initiation of opioid therapy for patient “X”;

b) continuation of opioid prescribing for up to 6 years for opioid dependency in spite of patient failure to enter treatment programs; and

c) continuation of opioid prescribing in spite of evidence of aberrant drug related behaviour such as intravenous drug use, reports of trafficking, multiple missed appointments for treatment programs, and multiple lost or stolen prescriptions.

The Investigation Committee recognized that patient “X” was a difficult and possibly manipulative patient and that the audit of Dr. Hydorn’s prescribing revealed this to be an isolated case of inappropriate prescribing.

A copy of Dr. Hydorn’s reprimand is available HERE.