Information released this week indicates that a request is before the Indiana Medical Licensing Board asking to consider extending a suspension for an Indiana physician.
The Indiana Medical Licensing Board met on October 27, 2009 and unanimously voted an emergency medical license suspension of an Indiana physician. Dr. Phillip D. Foley of Middletown, Indiana received a 90-day suspension after Indiana’s attorney general accused him of recklessly prescribing narcotics and sedatives. The state petition against Foley accuses him of at least nine overdose deaths.
The 24-page state petition questions the doctor’s care to his patients. Specifically, the report outlines concerns regarding 10 patients. This care occurred between 1998 and 2009. The complaint charges that Dr. Foley prescribed narcotics without performing a medical examination. The state also accused Foley of writing prescriptions to people even though he was aware that they had been pulled over for driving while under the influence of drugs or suffered prior overdose events. In at least nine cases, the state claimed that Foley’s actions contributed to the death of his patients. The complaint states that Dr. Foley regularly prescribed his patients a variety of painkillers, anti-depressants, muscle relaxers and other medications.
State officials informed the licensing board that Dr. Foley completed more than 96,000 original prescriptions between Jan. 1, 2005 and May 31, 2008. Dr. Foley wrote more prescriptions than any other doctor in Indiana during the same period.
The complaint provides specific dates to illustrate the extent of the problem. On April 27, 2007, Dr. Foley saw 141 patients and wrote 424 prescriptions. On September 26, 2007, Dr. Foley saw 139 patients and wrote 424 prescriptions. The complaint lists 25 dates where the number of patients and the number of new prescriptions seem out of balance. Based on calculations made by the state, Dr. Foley would have to work a 10-hour day, spending a short four minutes with each patient. He would have to write 1.4 prescriptions per minute to write this number of prescriptions. Amazingly, the numbers reported in the complaint do not include any prescription refills.
News reports indicate that many Indiana residents have come to the doctor’s defense. Despite the state’s serious accusations, the Indiana Department of Insurance reports that Dr. Foley has a history of only five medical malpractice claims against him. Information available to the public reveals that three of those cases ended with Dr. Foley paying a combined payout of more than $300,000.