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Pennsylvania medical board fails to reveal doc's criminal steroid dealing

Pennsylvania medical board fails to reveal doc's criminal steroid dealing

Picture of William Heisel

Medicine is one of the few professions where a person can commit a crime by failing to do something.

Dr. Charles F. Connors was convicted in 2001 of four counts of "Failure to Professionally Administer or Deliver Controlled Substances" in violation of state law. And for that the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine suspended his license.

But failure implies an act of omission, doesn't it? A falling short, at least. Connors was a little more aggressive than that. He peddled steroids by the fistful to the under-muscled.

The criminal complaint filed against him listed 14 different men who had received dangerous performance enhancing drugs from Connors at his office or his home in the 1990s. The complaint says that the drugs may have placed the men "in danger of death or serious bodily injury." Here are some of the drugs Connors dealt: deca-durabolin (Nandrolonedecanoate), anadrol (Oxymethalone) and winstrol (Stanozolol).

Nandrolone is one of the drugs that showed up in Barry Bonds' drug test. Even the body building press acknowledges that the drug has been associated with heart attacks. The other drugs can also lead to heart problems and death. Sports Illustrated in 2005 ticked off a sad list of professional wrestlers who had received shipments of illegal drugs, some of whom had died.

Unfortunately for the good people of Pennsylvania, the details about what led to Connors losing his license are not easy to find nor freely available on theDepartment of State's website. The only information patients receive about Connors is that "Disciplinary action or corrective action history exists."

Pennsylvania officials were responsive when Antidote requested the records, and the records themselves are fairly detailed. Were reporters so inclined, they could put together quite an interesting account of Connors' drug trade because all the patients are named, including Richard Kilmer. Kilmer later sued Connors, claiming that Connors had given Kilmer drugs in exchange for Kilmer agreeing to pose for photographs. When those photographs later turned up in magazines and on websites, Kilmer said he was embarrassed. It is unclear how that case panned out.

Connors, meanwhile, was forced to serve two years in a work release program. By all accounts, he has not been licensed by any other states, but doctors can practice without a license and patients may not be the wiser. That's why it's important for medical boards to provide the information that they have about a physician for everyone to see.

Leaving information about a doctor's criminal past off his public profile is, truly, a failure.

View this doctor and others on the Doctors Behaving Badly Google map. Want to read more Doctors Behaving Badly posts? Click here. Questions or comments? Email askantidote [at] gmail [dot] com.

Jenn Harris contributed to this report.

Photo credit: Darren Hester via Flickr

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