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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Scott Allen
Alice Dembner
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Liz Kowalczyk
Stephen Smith
Colin Nickerson
Beth Daley
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

State revokes license of resident who fell asleep in OR

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff

The Board of Registration in Medicine, which licenses Massachusetts doctors, yesterday retroactively revoked the medical license of Dr. Thomas Ho, finding that he fell asleep during a surgical procedure in December 2005 and inhaled anesthetic gas while on lunch break at work the following month.

Both incidents occurred during a rotation at Children's Hospital Boston. Ho had taken a prescription drug that caused him to doze off, the board said, and when he fell asleep he was the only anesthesiologist in the operating room.

Ho, who was an anesthesiology resident based at Brigham and Women's Hospital, took a voluntary leave in January 2006. He can apply for a new license if he demonstrates at least 15 months of continuous sobriety, and compliance with a chemical dependency monitoring contract.

A Children's Hospital spokeswoman, Michelle Davis, said today: "No patient was harmed, and as soon as the situation was discovered he was discharged from Children's."

In another case, the board indefinitely suspended the license of Dr. Joseph Fahey, a pediatrician in Worcester who admitted during a board investigation in 2005 that he had used cocaine and marijuana. The board immediately stayed the suspension because Fahey agreed to a probation agreement that includes monitoring him for drug use until 2010. Fahey has not been practicing medicine, but can do so under the terms of the agreement.

The board also indefinitely suspended the license of Dr. Camilla Parham, a family practitioner who had worked in Cambridge, for behaving inappropriately with a patient at a party. The board immediately stayed the suspension because Parham agreed to enter a probation agreement, which includes a requirement that she take continuing medical education courses in physician/patient boundaries. Parham has not been practicing medicine, but can do so as long as she adheres to the terms of the agreement.

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