Hacienda Healthcare doctor surrenders license

Hacienda Healthcare doctor surrenders license

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A doctor who used to examine the Hacienda Healthcare patient who was raped and gave birth while incapacitated has surrendered his medical license.

Dr. Phillip Gear is the physician who was supposed to perform regular exams on the patient.

On Thursday, Arizona's Family obtained records from the Arizona Medical Board, which show that Gear has agreed to surrender his license and not contest the matter in court. The documents, dated Nov. 8, state that he has now "decided to retire from the practice of medicine."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Hacienda HealthCare investigation]

The female patient, who was a patient at Hacienda Healthcare for more than 20 years, was in a vegetative state when she gave birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29, 2018. Arizona's Family broke the story that shocked the community and made national headlines.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Woman in vegetative state gives birth at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix]

Nathan Sutherland, a nurse at the care facility, was accused of raping the patient. Police said his DNA matched that of the baby born to the woman.

[RELATED: Phoenix police arrest 36-year-old nurse in Hacienda HealthCare rape]

Gear was the longtime physician of the patient who gave birth. He worked at Hacienda Healthcare from 1992, when the victim was 3 years old, until September 2018. According to the Medical Board, Gear failed to perform required monthly physical exams on the victim, and did not perform her annual mental health assessment.

According to the Medical Board's findings, Gear did not adequately supervise four of his students. Those students claimed that Gear did not enter patient rooms with them when he was training them. The documents also state that Gear's medical records for the patient were "incomplete, inaccurate and, at times, unsigned."

Gear was reprimanded by the Medical Board in 1996, who cited gross negligence after an 8-year-old baby died under his care.

In the meantime, another doctor associated with the Hacienda Healthcare investigation continues to be allowed to practice. Dr. Thanh Nguyen was suspended, but last month the Medical Board narrowly voted 5-4 to dismiss the case against him.

[RELATED: Hacienda doctor can practice medicine again after AZ Medical board dismisses case]

Nguyen was the primary care doctor at Hacienda Healthcare for the patient who was raped.

At his medical board hearing in October, Nguyen spoke out about the case. “Pregnancy was inconceivable and not suspected by anybody that took care of her, including up to the day before delivery," he told the board. "She was in a vegetative state on a ventilator with no way to communicate."

Nguyen told the board that his patient was 125 pounds with a flat stomach, and there were no obvious signs of pregnancy. He said that before this recent news coverage he had never been investigated or suspended. “I was truly shocked and upset when I heard that my patient was sexually assaulted. This was a horrendous event," Dr. Nguyen said.

The board discussed his case in great length, bringing up major concerns of medical records. The board specifically noted concerns about how long it took Dr. Nguyen to order exams for the patient/victim, and a general delay in examination and care.

[RELATED: Family of patients defend Hacienda Healthcare where woman was raped ]

Dr. Nguyen told the board that, since this issue, he’s done 22 extra hours of education in medical record keeping. His initiative to get the extra education was a reason several board members voted to dismiss the case.

Arizona’s Family tried to speak with Dr. Nguyen after he addressed the board, but he ran away and did not answer questions.

At the time, the family attorney for the victim said they had no comment on the ruling. But in their notice of claim sent to the state in June, they said Hacienda Healthcare missed 83 opportunities to diagnose the pregnancy. They also criticized Dr. Nguyen for prescribing the victim weight loss and constipation medications.

 


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