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March 18, 2013

Officials connect deaths to Wagoner clinics

Monday, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a 10-page petition with the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, asking the board to impose a 90-day suspension of four doctors connected with the Wagoner Medical Center locations in Burlington and Kokomo.

In the petition, the attorney general’s office alleges Drs. Don and Marilyn Wagoner, William Terpstra and Robert Brewer overprescribed medications to numerous patients, 14 of whom are listed below. Twelve of those patients are dead, and seven of the deceased died of drug overdoses.

The petition alleges the doctors’ prescribing practices “present a clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety” and that the doctors have created the potential for the illegal resale of drugs, drug abuse and drug addiction.

Here are summaries of the attorney general’s allegations regarding the care each of the 14 patients received at the Wagoner clinics. Quotations are directly from the attorney general’s petition:

Patient A, died Oct. 19, 2010

Treated from Oct. 23, 2009 to Oct. 15, 2010. Given Suboxone therapy for dependency on opiates, along with the habit-forming drugs Xanax and Ambien “despite an extremely high risk of sedation and respiratory depression.” Dosages remained “high” until the patient’s death on Oct. 19, 2010. The drugs Suboxone and Xanax were present in the patient’s body at the time of death.

Patient B, living

Treated from April 20, 2007 to July 26, 2010. Prescribed opiates despite being at high risk for addiction and other problems. Prescribed doses continued to escalate despite no documentation of a pain management plan, along with multiple failed urine screens showing the presence of non-prescribed substances. Drug screens also indicated patient wasn’t taking the medications prescribed by the clinic.

Patient C, died Jan. 14, 2010

Treated from July 25, 2006 to Jan. 6, 2010. Prescribed opiates despite risk factors that included an overdose on the synthetic opiate methadone, and numerous “drug screen inconsistencies.” Patient given a prescription for 360 30-mg oxycodone tablets on his last visit, and died eight days later of respiratory failure secondary to opiate overdose.

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