State medical board suspends license of Winchester physician

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comMay 3, 2013 

The state medical board this week suspended the license of a Winchester physician in an emergency order.

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure order filed Tuesday said a board panel concluded that there is probable cause to believe that Quentin F. Murray's practice constitutes a danger to his patients or the public.

The order alleged that Murray inappropriately prescribed several medications, including the painkiller Oxycodone, to a woman with whom he was having a sexual affair. The order also said that Murray was not "legally entitled" to prescribe methadone to a 32-year-old man who then died in 2010 after having a cardiac arrest.

A coroner did not find that the cause of death was related to the methadone in the man's system, but a board consultant said in the order that a person with morbid obesity, as the man had, should not have been given methadone.

"I believe any citizen would be in imminent danger from Dr. Murray's prescribing habits," the order quoted the unnamed board consultant as saying. "He prescribed narcotic medications to folks" that he does not have a medical relationship with, the order said.

Lisa English Hinkle, an attorney representing Murray, said Friday that the physician denies the allegations in the order "especially as it relates to the appropriateness of his prescribing" and would be challenging the emergency suspension. Hinkle said details in a coroner's report regarding the man's death are "at odds" with the findings of a board consultant quoted in the board's order. She declined to address specific allegations.

State Board of Medical Licensure executive director Michael Rodman declined to comment about the order Friday.

The order said Murray told board officials that he had an affair with a woman he had worked with at a facility and he wrote prescriptions for her even though he knew it was wrong. Murray said he did not keep a patient record for her, the order said.

The woman told board officials that in February 2012 Murray prescribed 150 Oxycodone pills for her every two weeks, according to the order.

The patient said Murray told her he would not continue to write her prescriptions for controlled substances "unless he was sure that she was going to be with him," so she had sex with him. She said each time she received 150 pills from the physician, they had sex, according to the order.

The woman said at one point, a pharmacist called Murray and said the woman was "eating pills like candy" so Murray told her to switch pharmacies. Murray acknowledged to board officials that he told the woman to change pharmacies after a pharmacy called him about the amounts of controlled substances she was receiving, the order said.

The woman received treatment for addiction and saw a psychiatrist "relating to her experience," the order said.

Sexual contact that occurs within a patient-physician relationship constitutes sexual misconduct under the American Medical Association Code of Ethics, according to the order.

The order said that Murray was fired in August 2012 from a hospice in relation to the allegations about the female patient.

During the course of that investigation, board investigators learned of the death of the 32-year-old man to whom Murray had prescribed methadone to treat drug addiction.

Murray "acknowledged that he was not legally entitled to prescribe methadone" for the patient because he did "not have the required license to treat addiction and was not practicing in a facility licensed for that purpose," the order said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears

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