In Knoxville Tennessee a federal judge has decided that a doctor found guilty in a drug- dealing conspiracy, should still be allowed to work and treat patients until he is sentenced later this year.
Doctor James Brian Joyner, who worked at a drug-trafficking clinic called the Breakthrough Pain Therapy Center in the city of Marysville, had his medical license in Tennessee revoked by the state medical board. But thanks to this mind-bending ruling by a federal judge, he is allowed to cross the state line and keep right on trucking in Virginia. Joyner confessed in court that he made $1,000 a day or more, by scribbling bogus prescriptions for narcotics and sedatives for people off the street with no medical need. He performed no physical exams and ordered no tests. The drugs were oxycodone, morphine and Xanax.
The so-called medical clinic, Breakthrough, was a cash-for-pills drug-front that raked in $2,500,000 in less than 18 months, from July 2009 to December 2010, when it was finally raided and boarded shut.
Now, federal law demands that convicted drug felons be kept behind bars until their day of sentencing. But in yet another case which defies all logic, U.S. District Judge Pamela Reeves is allowing the criminal Doctor Joyner, age 47, to keep working in the ER at Pioneer Hospital in Patrick County, Virginia. According to the court, he must be “supervised” by two other physicians. So this MD gets a “stay out of jail” pass as long as he has a babysitter.
And some people wonder why we call healthcare the Twilight Zone.
Another doctor and co-conspirator at the scam clinic, Deborah Gayle Thomas, age 64, was found guilty last month on similar charges. No word as yet regarding her “punishment.”
When it comes to physician discipline – or the lack thereof – this nation is stunningly vapid, and appallingly stupid. And we reap what we sow.
Here’s another look, if you can stomach it: