Sternstein v. Connecticut Medical Examining Board
The Connecticut Medical Examining Board can revoke the license of a doctor who allegedly departs from the medical standard of care and places patients' safety at risk. The Connecticut Medical Examining Board found the following facts. The plaintiff psychiatrist, Gerson Sternstein, allegedly prescribed excessively high doses of opioids to a client, P.B., and P.B. allegedly died as a result of opiate toxicity. Dr. Sternstein's medical notes for P.B. were brief and barely legible. Dr. Sternstein allegedly continued to prescribe the controlled substances, although there was clear evidence that P.B. was misusing and abusing the medicine, and he failed to adequately inform the patient about the risks. Allegedly, Dr. Sternstein also prescribed excessively high doses of opioids to another patient, S.B., who died as a result of hypertrophic dilated cardiomyopathy. The board found that Dr. Sternstein prescribed dangerous combinations of drugs, failed to adequately monitor his patients' responses and failed to disclose the risks of prescribed controlled substances. In 2011, the board concluded that Dr. Sternstein's medical treatment was grossly below the standard of care, and that he posed a serious threat to the health and safety of patients. The board revoked Dr. Sternstein's license to practice medicine and fined Dr. Sternstein $50,000. The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court. The court found that the plaintiff received a full hearing that allowed the plaintiff to rebut any inaccuracies that took place in connection with his suspension. The patient's attack on the evidence in connection with his suspension was moot. The board's evidence was strong. The board's decision was not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion, and the court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal.