Doctors with histories of substance abuse return to practice with monitoring

Posted Feb. 19, 2013, at 3:09 p.m.

A Bridgton doctor has been granted a probationary medical license after participating in substance abuse treatment after his removal from work at a local hospital.

Kevin Kendall was sent home from Bridgton Hospital’s emergency department on July 29, 2012, after behaving erratically, according to a Feb. 12, 2013 consent agreement with the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine. Nursing staff observed him writing the wrong names, medications and doses on prescriptions and acting confused.

After being sent home, Kendall hit a mailbox with his car and was arrested for operating under the influence, the agreement states.

Kendall agreed to a voluntary license suspension in August 2012 and resigned from Central Maine Medical Center. Bridgton Hospital is a member of the Central Maine Medical Family system.

Kendall has a history of substance abuse, according to the consent agreement. In 1998, he was disciplined for illegally obtaining and using Stadol, a synthetic opioid painkiller. His license was renewed in May 2011 after he participated in the Maine Medical Professionals Health Program, which helps health practitioners to access substance abuse treatment and monitors their progress.

Kendall abstained from alcohol, but became dependent on sedative medication to sleep, the agreement states. He was warned by his employer for exhibiting drowsiness and confusion at work, and his shifts were reduced.

After the incident at Bridgton Hospital, Kendall completed a residential treatment program for substance abuse and participated in a recovery program, the agreement states. His license was suspended from Aug. 17, 2012, to Feb. 12, 2013.

He continues to participate in the Maine Medical Professionals Health Program, including weekly urine tests and therapy sessions.

Under the five-year probationary license, Kendall must successfully participate in substance abuse treatment and monitoring. He also must have a physician monitor observe him, work only day shifts and work no more than 27 hours a week.

In a separate case, the board granted physician Christine Mellon a conditional medical license. Mellon, who was licensed in Virginia, applied for a Maine medical license in April 2012, according to a news release from the board.

On the application, Mellon, a gynecologist and obstetrician, said she had not actively practiced since 2009 and had been dependent on or undergone treatment for alcohol dependence within the past five years.

Mellon must successfully participate in substance abuse treatment and monitoring. Before returning to active practice, she also must have a physician monitor observe her three days a week and be immediately accessible during all obstetrical or surgical procedures.

Mellon resides in Camden, according to state licensing records.

A bill currently being considered by the Maine Legislature, sponsored by Rep. Jane Pringle, D-Windham, at the request of the Maine Medical Association, seeks to update Maine law governing the reporting and discipline of medical professionals suspected of having substance abuse problems.

The bill seeks to destigmatize language in the existing Maine statute concerning alcohol or drug use by medical professionals.

Of the 30 adverse licensing actions imposed in 2012 by the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, eight involved substance abuse problems, according to the board’s website.

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