FORT KENT, Maine — A doctor disciplined by a state board for treating patients while intoxicated last May has surrendered his medical license.
Robert K. Desai agreed to relinquish his license under a Feb. 10 consent agreement, the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine said in a Friday news release. The board suspended Desai’s license on May 14, 2013, after determining he “presented an imminent danger to his patients.” He has not practiced in Maine since, the release states.
Desai’s blood alcohol content was almost five times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle while he was on duty at Northern Maine Medical Center on May 7, according to the consent agreement.
Desai, a radiologist, was referred to the hospital’s emergency department that afternoon after staff became concerned about his “cognition and unusual manner, lack of coordination and slurred speech,” the agreement states. An emergency room physician who examined and performed blood work on Desai diagnosed him with acute alcohol intoxication.
Desai denied using any intoxicating substances until the lab results came back, at which point he admitted only to drinking alcohol the previous evening, the agreement states.
Desai began work at NMMC on April 1, 2013, as a locum physician, or temporary contractor arranged through a staffing agency. The hospital immediately removed him from caring for patients after the May 7 incident and alerted the medical licensing board, hospital officials said previously.
On May 8, the day after the hospital sent him home, Desai told licensing officials he had been seeing an alcohol counselor since the spring of 2012 but wasn’t enrolled in a state program for medical professionals with substance abuse issues, according to the agreement.
Desai agreed that the board had grounds to void his medical license based on habitual substance abuse and unprofessional conduct, according to the board’s release. He may apply for reinstatement of his license, but must demonstrate that his practice of medicine would pose no danger to the public.