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The Scoop

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Verbatim: State seeks emergency suspension of Fort Wayne doctor

Statement as issued Monday by the office of the Indiana attorney general:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office filed a petition today to suspend a Fort Wayne physician's license for "inappropriate and dangerous prescribing practices."

Zoeller's office filed the emergency suspension before the Medical Licensing Board today against Dr. William Hedrick of the Centers for Pain Relief in Northern Indiana. The action was taken after concerns arose over the doctor's unusually high use of pain killer prescriptions and unsafe drug mixing practices.

According to the filing, Hedrick's prescribing habits "are not medically sound and pose substantial risk to the safety of his patients."

"Evidence reveals that Dr. Hedrick poses a clear danger to his patients and the public," said Gabrielle Owens, Deputy Director of the Attorney General's Licensing Enforcement and Homeowner Protection Unit. "Numerous patients have died from multiple drug toxicity while in his care and these types of aggressive prescription practices are dangerous. The Attorney General's Office has taken swift action and is confident the Medical Licensing Board will take the appropriate steps to protect patients."

The board will consider the petition for summary suspension at its next meeting on Thursday, Dec. 6. Owens said if the suspension is granted, Hedrick could not practice medicine for 90 days while the Attorney General's Office drafts a formal complaint to submit to the board. In licensing cases, the board has the authority to determine what if any disciplinary action will be taken.

Since January, the Attorney General's Office has filed numerous licensing actions against physicians for overprescribing with several cases involving deaths. The growing number of overprescribing incidents has resulted in the creation of the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force recently launched by Zoeller. The group is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers. Members will focus on education, treatment and recovery, prescription drug monitoring, prescription disposal and take-back and enforcement. The full task force will publish a report of its findings and recommendations.

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