An Olathe doctor has temporarily lost his medical license after providing drugs to his girlfriend and failing to disclose a malpractice lawsuit to the state medical board.
The Kansas Board of Healing Arts ordered a 45-day license suspension for Dr. Roger Parris, who practices with the Mercy Physician Group in Fort Scott.
A receptionist there said Parris was on a leave on absence until Sept. 28. Mark Lynch, an attorney with Overland Park-based Simpson, Logbank, Lynch, Norris who represented Parris before the board, did not return a phone message left Friday.
The board’s order, released Wednesday, said it received a complaint in October 2014 about Parris prescribing medications that included controlled substances to his girlfriend.
The board determined that the prescribing had been going on for more than two years at that point. The order names only one drug, a diet pill called Phentermine that can cause heart failure. But it said the prescribing was not limited to that drug and that Parris was not documenting the prescriptions in medical records.
Parris initially told the board that he was writing the prescriptions for pain associated with toxic mold exposure. But the prescribing had begun 18 months before the exposure. The board’s order states that Parris “subsequently clarified that the prescriptions originally began as continuations of existing prescriptions for chronic pain” that he was writing for his girlfriend as she as she looked for a new doctor.
Parris told the board that “as we were not married or related, I did not believe I was doing anything unethical” and “as our relationship developed, I stopped writing such prescriptions.” But he also said “there was likely some overlap” between the time he developed an “intimate relationship” with the patient and the time he was giving her prescriptions for controlled substances.
In addition to the 45-day license suspension, the board ordered Parris to pay a fine of $2,499 and take courses in medical record keeping, ethics and the dangers of prescribing controlled substances.
The board also said Parris didn’t disclose on his 2015 license renewal application that he was a defendant in a malpractice suit related to his work as an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott.
The suit was brought by Clessa Hawkins, on behalf of her late husband, Terry.
According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kansas, Terry Hawkins came to Mercy Hospital on Jan. 7, 2014, with a fever of almost 105 degrees and struggling to breathe.
Parris was on duty in the emergency room that day, but according to the complaint, Hawkins was seen only by a triage nurse who knew that he had also been to the hospital with flu-like symptoms two days earlier and been given antibiotics.
Parris, in a response filed by his attorneys, said the nurse told Hawkins that Parris “would be happy to see him but that the antibiotics would not have had an opportunity to take effect that quick and Terry Hawkins elected not to be seen.”
The next day Hawkins lost consciousness and was transported to Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. He was diagnosed with influenza and pneumonia caused septic shock and multiple organ failure and was transferred in critical condition to St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, where he died a month later.
After more than a year of litigation, Clessa Hawkins received an undisclosed settlement in January 2016 from Mercy Hospital and several other parties, including Parris.
Parris’ attorney told the state licensing board that the failure to disclose the lawsuit was due to the “multiple defendants, changing claims and overlapping facts” in the case that “caused confusion with hospital personnel assisting (Parris) with his renewal application.”