Monday, April 28, 2008

What Do We Do with the Drugged Out Veterinarian, Installment #3

This one from Texas.

Because . . . old habits die hard.

In June 2007, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medicine issued Findings of Fact stating that:

"The Board . . . opened a complaint against Erik Gallegos, D.V.M., San Antonio, for possible illegal prescription of a controlled substance, hydrocodone, for self-use . . . Dr. Gallegos admitted that he had a substance abuse problem and that he had attempted to obtain the hydrocodone for self-use. He also admitted that he had taken buphrenophrine from his clinic for self-use."

Dr. Gallegos surrendered his DPS and DEA certificate. Gallegos entered a peer assistance program for "substance abuse recovery" and signed a 5-year contract to participate in the program and be subject to periodic drug screening.

But 6 months after signing this contract and surrendering his DEA license, Gallegos again tried to obtain hydrocodone for personal use. The Texas Department of Public Safety filed criminal charges against him.

At that time, all the Board did was fine him $500, reprimand him, and give him a "stayed" suspension (that is -- a suspension that is not enforced).

Lo and behold, the Texas Veterinary Board "Notes" released in April 2008 cited yet another violation and enforcement action against Gallegos. The Notes say: "The Board found that Gallegos violated rule 573.62, Violation of a Board Order/Negotiated Settlements, Disciplinary Action: Dr. Gallegos received a 60 month suspension, all of which was stayed and probated, must submit to random drug testing, and a formal reprimand."

Question: When in the heck will the Texas Vet Board ever ENFORCE a suspension? How many times can a vet do the same thing over and over and get NO more severe discipline than the time before?

Isn't this the exact same disciplinary action they took the last time, and yet the guy keeps it up?