Delaware Court Reinstates Sanctions Against Pain Doctor
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware’s Supreme Court has affirmed a medical licensing board’s decision to discipline a doctor for misconduct involving the use of opioid painkillers to treat a patient struggling with heroin addiction.
The justices on Wednesday overturned a Superior Court judge’s decision that reversed several of the board’s findings against Dr. Bruce Grossinger.
The judge concluded that some of the regulations that Grossinger was accused of violating were unconstitutionally vague as applied to him, that expert testimony in the case was required, and that Grossinger’s due process rights were violated.
The justices rejected those findings and said the board’s decisions were supported by substantial evidence.
A hearing officer found that Grossinger had violated several state rules and regulations in treating a patient named Michael.
Michael died of a heroin overdose in 2014 while under the care of Grossinger Neuropain Specialists. Unaware of his death, the clinic discharged him as a patient two days later after a urine sample indicated heroin use.
State officials said Grossinger failed to document Michael’s history of substance abuse and failed to discuss with him the risks and benefits of treatment with controlled substances. They also said Grossinger failed to order urine samples or require pill counts, and failed to keep accurate and complete treatment records.
The board adopted the hearing officer’s findings but reduced Grossinger’s recommended discipline from probation to a letter of reprimand.