Rhode Island board disciplines six doctors, 1 for Facebook post
09:14 AM EDT on Tuesday, April 19, 2011
By Thomas J. Morgan
PROJo Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE — A physician who posted information on Facebook that allowed the identification of a patient, and another who has problems with alcohol and marijuana, are among six doctors who have been disciplined by the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline.
The board found Alexandra Thran, of Westerly Hospital, guilty of unprofessional conduct after she recounted some of her emergency-room experiences on Facebook, according to a news release by the state Department of Health. The board said she did not use the names of patients, and did not intend to disclose confidential information, but the nature of the injuries of one patient allowed an unauthorized third party to figure out who it was, the board ruled.
The panel said that Thran deleted her account as soon as she learned what had happened. The board issued a reprimand and told Thran to pay a $500 administrative fee.
In another case, the board suspended the license of Yogesh B. Pancholi, who practiced in walk-in centers and had been authorizing patients to apply for medical marijuana cards from the state Department of Health.
The board said that Pancholi in 2007 was diagnosed as abusing alcohol and marijuana, and that later he had been involuntarily admitted to a hospital for evaluation.
The panel charged that Pancholi acquired substances over the Internet that were “designed to provide false negative readings for substance abuse monitoring.” Pancholi also had been under board investigation for drug diversion and for inappropriate prescribing of medications.
The board said that the Physician Health Committee had instructed Pancholi to cease teaching people how to grow marijuana, a practice he had advertised in a local magazine and for which he charged cash.
The panel said also that Pancholi had abandoned some records, including the names of his medical marijuana patients, which were found by his landlord.
The board said the suspension would remain in effect until further action by the board.
In another case, the board issued a reprimand to Ira H. Asher, who has privileges at South County Hospital and Kent Hospital, for operating on the wrong eye in December 2009. A nurse caught the error before the surgery began, but after Asher had injected an anesthetic at the wrong site.
He performed the surgery on the correct eye, the board said, and the patient was discharged the same day.
Joseph Latina, who practices at Rhode Island Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital, received a reprimand and agreed to further education in surgical technique after he lacerated a blood vessel during a gall bladder operation.
The panel said the injury was “a rare complication, one avoidable with careful techniques.” The board said Latina failed to follow proper procedures, constituting unprofessional conduct.
Eric S. Bresher has been admonished by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, the Rhode Island panel reported, for failing to detect a mass in a patient’s abdomen. The Colorado panel said it intended no further action against Bresher’s license.
Bresher agreed to pay a $500 administrative fee to the Rhode Island board.
The board accused a retired doctor, Pasquale Mastrostefano, of unprofessional conduct in handling patient records. The board said Mastrosefano had been practicing at 347 Broadway, Providence, when he retired in April last year.
Mastrostefano tried to reach his patients by phone and by a newspaper advertisement, the panel said, then shredded the records of those who failed to respond after a two-week period. Some patients therefore were unable to obtain their medical records, the board said.
The board did not list any further sanctions.