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Center for Health Journalism

Contraindications: Dr. Michael Charles Edwards

Contraindications: Dr. Michael Charles Edwards

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When choosing doctors, people like to know the answers to a few basic questions.

"Do they have the right amount of experience?"

"Are they conveniently located?"

"Do they accept my insurance?"

Somewhere above, "Do they stock Popular Mechanics in the lobby?" and below "Did they go to medical school?" might be these questions:

"Do they abuse drugs?"

"Are they honest?"

Dr. Michael Charles Edwards (Texas License No. L2873, California License No. 91508), a plastic surgeon based in Sugarland, Texas, has had a little trouble with both of those questions, according to the Medical Board of California.

In 2007 and 2008, Edwards called around to area pharmacies and ordered Norco, a painkiller, and Valium, an anti-anxiety drug often used as a mood lifter, saying he was stocking up on them for his office, according to the board. He "falsely claimed he was giving these drugs to patients for migraines," the board said.

When confronted about this by board investigators, Edwards fibbed, the board wrote.

In April 2008, Edwards agreed to enter an inpatient drug treatment program, but he only lasted four days. He contacted one of the medical board investigators saying "that he had left the program due to financial problems and family issues" and that the treatment program director had given him approval to leave. The medical board later found out that he had left the program "against medical advice," the board wrote.

The board charged him with self-use of controlled substances, dishonesty and other charges in June 2008.

In May 2009, an administrative law judge ruled that Edwards could continue practicing medicine but only in partnership with another physician and that he had to contract with a lab that would test him randomly at least four times every month for drugs.

All of this information is available through the California medical board's Web site. But, given that the doctor is based in Texas, one would hope that patients there would have access to the same information if they checked their state board to find out about Edwards.

Not so.

As far as the Texas Medical Board is concerned, Edwards' license is clean and clear.

When contacted by Antidote, board spokeswoman Jill Wiggins wrote, "Any information about investigations is confidential by statute so I can't tell you whether or not we have investigated or are investigating this doctor.However, I am passing the information you have provided about the California action along to our Complaints and Investigations Department."

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[...] Now behind to a grave charge during hand. Most of a doctors in a 51 cases that he spotlighted — 82 percent — are still practicing medicine, a review found. Some 290 patients were harm or died underneath these physicians’ care, Heisel writes. And a problems ranged from purported sexual attacks to practicing medicine while abusing medication drugs. [...]

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