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Doctors Behaving Badly: Nebraska medical board gives love tap to doctor

Doctors Behaving Badly: Nebraska medical board gives love tap to doctor

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It's a phrase only a bureaucrat could love: "assurance of compliance."

The federal government uses the term frequently. When an agency is considering giving money to state or local government or to a private organization, it often makes them fill out an assurance of compliance asserting that they are followingcivil rights laws, research guidelines, and other restrictions.

The Nebraska Board of Medicine and Surgery uses it as a fig leaf. Instead of disciplining a doctor who has strayed outside of ethical and legal boundaries, the board issues the doctor an "assurance of compliance." Unlike the federal government, the state board waits for a violation to happen and then allows the doctor to retroactively clean up their mess by "assuring" that they are "complying" with the rules.

Dr. Matthew M. Glenn, a family practitioner in Lincoln, allegedly had "intimate relations" with a patient in August 2005, according to medical board documents. As we saw earlier in Michigan, this is enough for doctors to temporarily lose their license in some states.

The Nebraska board, instead, issued an "assurance of compliance" to Glenn in October 2006, accusing him of unprofessional conduct but also stating, "This Assurance of Compliance is not a disciplinary action against Dr. Glenn's license to practice as a medical doctor." The board let him keep practicing and told him to take a "boundaries course" within the next six months.

Six months later, Glenn had not taken the course, but the medical board's compliance assurers must have been on a long holiday. The board did nothing.

Glenn found himself in need of compliance reassurance again in August 2007. This time, the board accused him of prescribing domperidone, a drug used to treast nausea. As the board noted, domperidone "is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, unless the physician has acquired an Investigational New Drug Application."

Glenn did not have the authority to prescribe this drug, but he did it anyway. To find out what can happen when a doctor without the training or the authority to prescribe certain drugs breaks those rules, ask Dr. Conrad Murray. He used the anesthetic propofol in an inappropriate setting – Michael Jackson's bedroom – and without certification in anesthesia. He's now facing involuntary manslaughter charges.

Murray may be an extreme example. It's difficult to gauge the gravity of these infractions because the Nebraska board provides only the barest of details about Glenn's case. What exactly happened with the first patient is completely secret. What he was doing with the drugs is completely secret.

For the drug prescription, he was told in his "assurance of compliance" to not do that again. The board might have thought to ask him at this point, "Are you going to take that class we mentioned a year ago when you had ‘intimate relations' with a patient?"

It never came up.

Not until five years after Glenn's dalliance did the board finally take Glenn's pattern of behavior seriously.

Kind of.

In April 2010, it filed a "Petition for Disciplinary Action" against Glenn. Documents like this are usually full of dates, descriptions, patient testimony, and the like. This petition was barely more than two pages long and mostly boilerplate. And listen to this tough talk. The board said that because Glenn had brushed off the board's request that he take a boundaries course, it was going to "enter an order for appropriate disciplinary action".

And what was the disciplinary action?

Glenn was told he could have more time to take the course. His latest due date is October 1, 2010.

The Nebraska Board of Medicine and Surgery calls that a "civil penalty."

Final question: How many members of the Nebraska Board of Medicine and Surgery are physicians? Six of the eight.

Jenn Harris contributed to this report and last week's report on Dr. Elizabeth Bennett Cox.

To see this doctor, and others, on the map, click here.

To inquire or to quibble, write askantidote [at] gmail [dot] com.

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The Doctors Behaving Badly tour thus far:

Medical board gives addicted Montana doctor last chances galore

Michigan medical board keeps physician's misdeeds under cover

Doctor dinged twice by Missouri med board decries rising insurance costs

Mississippi makes public pony up for peek at doctor histories

Minnesota doc bends pregnant patients to weird whims

Massachusetts doc's solo flights leave patients plummeting with no chute

Maine welcomes psychiatrist with fraud conviction and drug abuse concerns

Louisiana board keeps doctor's inappropriate history hush-hush

Sixty-somethings, beware of this inappropriate Louisiana internist with a secret past

Kentucky weight loss doctor ordered to reform his battering ways

Medical boards should drop the stone tools, join the digital age

Kansas medical board hides misdeeds from public scrutiny

In Iowa, having an MD is a license to take meth

Indiana doc plays the victim when finally caught overdosing patients

Indiana drug mill kept patients happy and hooked

Chicago doc accused in baby's death gets by with a little help from the Klan

Illinois obstetrician's malpractice case leaves one patient victorious, others stonewalled

Idaho board bars doctor from tummy tucks, facelifts and other plastic surgery

Hawaii psychiatrist hides from sex abuse troubles with "mahalo" from state

Georgia ob/gyn made his office a singles bar

Florida Doc Charged with Soliciting Underage Sex Online

Toys in Delaware pediatrician's basement didn't make it less of a dungeon

Warned about Delaware doctor's dungeon, hospital shrugged

DC anesthesiologist was caught with painkillers meant for babies

Connecticut fertility doctor survives despite bombshell accusation

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Colorado, Part 1

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Colorado, Part 2

California emergency care physician reported for duty drunk

WMDs won't cost doctors their MD in Arkansas

Arizona faith healer finally steps outside medical board's good graces

Alabama eye doctor prescribed drugs to patients, sight unseen

Alaska psychiatrist drew the sex abuse line at coworkers





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I have known Dr. Matt Glenn for over 8 years, as he is the primary care physician for my elderly mother. He has been a very caring, conscientious and accomplished physician who has often come through when she had serious health issues needing attention.

In my youth, a physician's so-called personal errors of personal judgment (even occasional overuse of alcohol or philandering, etc.) were never utilized to detract from the public role of her or him, so long as he or she proved to be a competent and reliable physician.

Apparently, that custom of decency has been completely excised your little world. Nonetheless, it would benefit you and one's trust in your judgment if you were to have a sense of proportion and discretion concerning just what warrants mention on the web about another person.

To isolate one factor or event in order to detract from another's personal and professional reputation in order to present oneself as the epitome of truth may indicate a certain arrogant presumption concerning one's importance and moral status among one's fellow human beings.

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All doctors are human and subject to human fallibilitied. However having a relationship outside medical boundaries is a definite violation. Worse, a female patient may not feel she has the right to refuse a doctor who is indicating he wants sexual contact. I know of a few times this has happened to. Change doctors you say? Not so easy when you have many doctors who will dismiss a woman's complaints as "hysteria" even in this day and age. Women live longer because they are more likely to tell their doctor all their problems. Many men feel it takes away their masculinity.
I have watched my Mom dismissed as overly dramatic but because my father likes to joke with his doctor he's treated much better medically. My point is that doctors must be held to a higher standard. They can determine whether you live or die.

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