State Med Board Suspended Dr. Just to Make Nice with Charlie Baker

By: Dr. Bharani Padmanabhan

So, here are the actors in this sordid little drama. Charlie Baker opposes the legalization of marijuana. He supports prohibition. Dr. Candace Sloane is the Chair of the State Medical Board. She absolutely relishes being the Chair and wants to be reappointed by Charlie even though she was appointed by Deval Patrick after bundling $100,000 for his campaign. This is how you become the Chair of the State Medical Board, when you don’t even see patients in this state.

So what’s the plan?

Simple. Whack a doctor for issuing medical marijuana certificates, then call the Boston Globe to have a reporter present when you make the announcement and issue a cheerleading statement designed to appeal to Charlie and one you are sure he will read.

The doctor chosen for sacrifice was Dr. John Nadolny. Dr. Nadolny and his nurse practitioners handled a large caseload of patients who depended on the law passed overwhelmingly by the people of Massachusetts specifically to help them. This law explicitly prohibited the State Medical Board from persecuting doctors for prescribing marijuana.
Dr. Sloane and the State Medical Board chose to do the exact opposite. After all, despite her repeated claim to “care passionately about patients”, Dr. Sloan cannot point to any evidence supporting that during her tenure as Chair.
So the Board summarily suspended Dr. Nadolny’s license. To understand what that means, it is essentially like being arrested. Everything just stops as is. You can do nothing for your patients who, of course, become flotsam as there was no warning of this massive attack. The Board just takes you out. Boom!

And, of course, your income stops immediately as well. So, in addition to spending a fortune on lawyers, you have nothing coming in at the same time, whereas the Board coolly wastes tax dollars (and especially on Overnight mail). Dr. Sloane gushed to the Globe that doing this to Dr. Nadolny was all about her “passionate commitment” to the people of Massachusetts, the very same people who, at great effort, passed a state law that prohibited Dr. Sloane from doing exactly what she just did.

Dr. Nadolny chose to defend himself robustly at a hearing before a magistrate from the Division of Administrative Law Appeals.

The magistrate issued a stinging report this week simply crushing the State Medical Board and all but calling the Board’s lawyer, a liar. The magistrate’s exact words about the Board’s lawyer? Her statements were “not accurate” repeatedly. As I am not a magistrate, I have no trouble saying it means she knowingly, repeatedly lied to the court.
Then again, Board lawyers do that all the time. VP readers may recall Tom Duggan’s crushing takedown of the Board’s senior lawyer, Debra Stoller –

The magistrate forthrightly declared that Dr. Nadolny was not an “imminent danger to public safety” and openly mocked the Board’s bogus rationale for having suspended his license without any warning to him (but with advance notice to the Boston Globe).

No Board that “cares passionately” about patients would so cavalierly suspend a doctor’s license.
The magistrate described the Board’s bogus excuses as a “non-issue.” He particularly objected to the Board suspending a doctor’s license for following the advice of the Department of Public Health.

So one state agency can whack you for following the advice of another state agency! Welcome to the Baker Administration. Welcome to Secretary of Health Marylou Sudders’ world. WOW.

Unlike the State Medical Board, the magistrate quoted extensively from the law to determine the will of “1,914,747 voters” and declared he would not go against the express intentions of the people. If anyone wants to read the magistrate’s decision, please email me.

We now wait for Dr. Sloane to declare she employed “an abundance of caution” given she “passionately cares” about the people of Massachusetts, despite deliberately violating the clear will of 1,914,747 voters and for Charlie to reward her for her newfound loyalty.

Happily though, thanks to the United States Supreme Court, which has issued many opinions castigating the Massachusetts way of whacking people (Caetano v. Mass) Dr. Nadolny now has the court’s authorization to sue all these Board people into personal bankruptcy.

About time.

Bharani Padmanabhan MD PhD is a neurologist who specializes in multiple sclerosis in the Boston area.