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Illinois psychiatrist loses license due to prescriptions

Nursing homes in Illinois should be places where our elderly loved ones receive safe and nurturing care when they are no longer able to get that treatment at home.

It is not unusual for our older individuals to suffer from an increasing number of ailments. They take more medication and generally, these drugs help them to lead comfortable lives. Recently, a case in an Illinois nursing care facility indicated otherwise.

A physician who practices at one facility in Chicago lost his licenses due to overzealous suspicious over-prescribing of clozapine. The psychiatrist had been prescribing the risky antipsychotic drug to about half of all his patients at both mental health facilities and nursing homes. The drug is typically considered a "last resort" medication for schizophrenia.

The medication was suspected to be a factor in the death of three patients at one facility, following allegations of fraud or kickbacks. The physician's license was suspended indefinitely, as Clozapine has been known to cause seizures, irregularities in white blood cells and heart inflammation.

The Illinois Medical Board levied additional charges of illegal payments from pharmaceutical companies, ascertaining the doctor had been given $350,000 while ignoring the side effects of clozapine.

The disciplinary actions finally came to light after a prolonged investigation on the doctor's heavy prescription pad habits.

The investigation was finally resolved with the state department of financial and professional regulation over his excessive number of clozapine prescriptive habits. Allegations against him include the writing of a certain amount of clozapine in exchange for thousands of dollars in consulting fees and other perks. Toxicology reports from one deceased resident showed five times the normal level of clozapine in his system.

The psychiatrist vehemently denied any wrongdoing, but the board disagreed. His license was suspended for three years.

If you have a family friend or loved one in a nursing facility in Illinois, you should feel confident knowing the elderly resident will be provided with the optimum standard of care. Senior citizens in nursing homes are vulnerable and trust their health care providers.

If you suspect something is wrong or your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, seek help from a person who is familiar with the law regarding nursing home practices. Your elderly family member deserves to live his or her life in comfort and safety, free from abuse or neglect.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Illinois suspends license of controversial psychiatrist" Karisa King, Aug. 11, 2014

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