February 23, 2011

Verbatim


Forney doctor's license suspended after patient's death

By IAN McCANN
Staff writer
Published 22 February 2011 11:06 PM

The Texas Medical Board said Tuesday that it has suspended the license of an 88-year-old Forney doctor for improperly prescribing medication, including to a woman who died of an overdose Jan. 1.

Dr. Annie Christine Z. Walker may appeal the temporary suspension, and another disciplinary hearing is set for Monday. Walker could not be reached for comment.

In an order issued Friday, the board said Walker did not keep records on seven patients, plus three family members, to whom she prescribed controlled substances. The order said Walker is physically impaired, is unable to dress herself and unable to walk unassisted but said she still saw about six patients a week.

Forney police said they are investigating the Jan. 1 overdose death but would not release any information about the case, including the name of the woman or where the death occurred.
The drugs being prescribed were not identified in the medical board’s order.

To issue a temporary suspension, the board must determine that a doctor presents a threat to the public if he or she is allowed to continue practicing medicine. Such suspensions occur once or twice a month.

According to the order, Walker saw patients in her home, including 14 over the course of two weeks in January. The order said Department of Public Safety records indicate that Walker wrote 1,241 prescriptions to 143 patients from Dec. 1, 2009, through Jan. 20, 2011. She charged $20 per prescription given.

There was little evidence, the medical board said, that any exams occurred in the case of the deceased woman, identified as “Patient A” in the order.

Walker “said she diagnosed Patient A with back pain, depression and anxiety, solely based on the fact that Patient A told her that was the problem,” the order said.

The woman was prescribed medication in her name, as well as her husband’s and daughter’s names.

Walker has surrendered her Drug Enforcement Agency controlled substance certificate, her DPS registration certificate and 41 prescription pads. At least one of the prescriptions was signed but not filled in, the order said. Walker reportedly kept the pads unsecured in her home.

Medical board records show just a handful of past actions taken against Walker, including two instances in the late 1990s when Walker’s license became delinquent because of non-payment. In 2003, she paid a $1,000 fine because she failed to complete continuing education as required to maintain her license.

Walker, who received her medical license in 1948, is a longtime Forney resident. She was the 1939 valedictorian at Forney High School and went on to study at UT Southwestern Medical School, where she graduated in 1948.

She returned to Forney a few years later, when, according to a 1950
Dallas Morning News story, the town built a new medical clinic to lure her away from Parkland Memorial Hospital. The town had been without a doctor for about a year at the time Walker, then known as Dr. Christine Zarafonetis, returned home.
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3 Comments:

Old NFO said...

Sad story, I wonder how many other doctors reside/practice in Forney?

jeg43 said...

Sad indeed.
My question is: For any prescription of a drug that is potentially a killer in an overdose, does a normal prescription limit the number of pills so that taking all the prescribed pills at once will not kill the patient?

Mule Breath said...

NFO, there are likely several. Forney is almost a suburb of Dallas.

jeg, not usually. I've seen scripts written for as few as 10 doses, but in the case of fentanyl that would be more than enough.