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Kentucky board suspends physician over painkiller deaths.

Medscape (9/27, Lowes) reports that on Sept. 24, the Kentucky Board of Licensure "suspended the license" of family physician, Gary Shearer, MD, while works to resolve "charges against him involving the deaths of 15 patients for whom he prescribed pain medications." Fourteen of the 15 deaths were attributed to overdoses; and the board issued an emergency order, saying that seven of the 15 deaths of Dr. Shearer's patients, which occurred from 2009 to 2011, were "attributed in whole or part to oxycodone" overdoses. Moreover, the board said that all of the 14 patients who overdosed had "medications prescribed by Dr. Shearer in their system." In response, Dr. Shearer's attorney Robert Sanders Jr "said the physician's legal team investigated several of the overdose deaths and determined that heroin was the culprit in most of them." Sanders contends that a physician "cannot be held responsible for a patient mixing legal and illegal drugs."