Pain Doctor's License Suspended Over 18 Alleged Deaths
Posted By Schick Shadel Hospital || Jul 29, 2016
Dr. Frank D. Li, who is the head of eight Washington pain clinics, was barred from practicing medicine by the Washington state Medical Commission on Thursday, July 14 after he was charged with failing to properly monitor opiate prescription use, potentially leading to the deaths of 18 people since 2010.
If those eight clinics in eight cities – Spokane, Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Olympia, Renton, Vancouver, and Poulsbo – are shut down, approximately 25,000 patients may need to find new clinics. Regarding this potential closure, the Washington state Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC)’s deputy director Micah Matthews said, “There shouldn’t be an immediate disruption. We’re planning for the worst possible scenario, but we don’t expect the clinics will be immediately shut down.”
The statement of charges issued by the medical commission claims that Li allegedly violated state regulations for the management of chronic, non-cancer pain, as well as rules created to prevent the abuse of opioids that could lead to overdoses and death. The statement also charges Li with failing to provide informed consent to the families of or patients themselves, conduct proper evaluations of patients, or even conduct proper consultations and reviews for opiate therapy.
“I guess what I would call it is classic ‘pill mill’ behavior,” Matthews said.
Li is one of over 40 doctors and health care providers who have worked for Seattle Pain Centers that officials have started investigations into or filed complaints against since 2013.
Prescription painkiller addiction is one of the most dangerous issues facing Americans today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid sales and overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999, and many states have reported issues with so called “pill mills,” for-profit pain clinics that prescribe large quantities of painkillers. Some of this demand comes from people who use them for the high, rather than the medical properties, and far too many people use them to fuel their addiction.
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