An Indiana surgeon is ready to testify and defend himself in a federal court hearing that could set in motion an investigation into the doctor’s alleged drug and alcohol use.
Only known as “Dr. John Doe”, the physician is listed as a “witness expected to be called” at a March 1 hearing before Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
The Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) requested the hearing last month, seeking a federal court order to disclose the identity of the doctor to state regulators. ISMA considers Dr. Doe unsafe to practice medicine.
According to the hearing application, Doe was referred to ISMA Physician Assistance Program after there were documented “clinical concerns” centering on the doctor’s surgical performance and patient care.
The document notes the doctor was drug tested and “hair test results showed cocaine use, the blood test showed alcohol use over a certain period of time”.
There are also references to interviews with co-workers who say Doe had “the smell of alcohol on his breath and the observation of tremors.”
An independent evaluation of the doctor diagnosed Dr. Doe with “alcohol use disorder (and possibly) stimulant use disorder.”
A response filed this week, shows Doe is ready to fight to keep his anonymity. Federal law prohibits the disclosure of anyone who’s going through drug treatment or has been drug tested. A federal court order would free ISMA to reveal the identity of Dr. Doe to the state Attorney General’s office and the Indiana State Licensing Agency, who would investigate the surgeon and possibly discipline him.
Court documents filed on Doe’s behalf insist the ISMA evaluation was “inaccurate” and the organization has been “overzealous”.
Doe’s attorney also states “Doe does not abuse any substances (and) the only thing threatened in this scenario is Doe’s reputation.”
Also submitted to the court is an exhibit list for Doe’s legal team which includes an item described as “Progress Notes on Hand Tremor”.
CBS4 has reached out to Doe’s attorney for an explanation of what those progress notes would reveal. So far, there has been no response.