Boynton Beach doctor's license suspended over 4 patient deaths
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
A 73-year-old doctor in Boynton Beach had his license suspended for his alleged involvement in the deaths of four patients, the Florida Department of Health said.
Peter Katz, whose office is at 3301 West Boynton Beach Boulevard, had already been arrested in April for reportedly prescribing patients with with "limited to no exam, no patient file and no medical history," according to arrest reports. He was also prescribing these medications after business hours and at this own home.
The first patient who died was K.C., a 49-year-old woman, according to the state department. She was taken to a local hospital on July 17, 2015 after suffering from nausea and vomiting for three days.
She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
An autopsy revealed K.C. died from "multiple drug intoxication" and had cocaine, temazepam, alprazolam, heroin, oxycodone, acetaminophen and buprenorphine in her system.
K.C. was a known drug user and Katz had been treating for her for "opioid dependence," as well as high blood pressure, the state department said. He prescribed burenorphine, Phentermineand Lisinopril.
But her medical records didn't show a diagnosis of or a treatment for hypertension, nor her history of drug abuse.
Katz's second patient, a 36-year-old man known as R.U., was found dead in his home on Dec. 30, 2015, according to the state department. An autopsy showed R.U. died from a heroin overdose.
R.U. had an extensive criminal history of alcohol and drug-related arrests, the state department said. Katz treated him for anxiety, cervical disc disease and neuropathy between Aug. 29, 2013 and Dec. 29, 2015.
Katz had prescribed him alprazolam, Norco and gabapentin, but didn't keep any documentation of R.U.'s medical history during the two-and-a-half years of treatment.
While he was seeing Katz, R.U. was receiving burenorphine from another physician, the state department said. Katz's failure at monitoring R.U. resulted in the prescription of different medications.
The third patient, a 33-year-old man named D.G., was found dead in a parked car on Dec. 27, 2015, according to the state department. He was first reported missing on Dec. 23.
An autopsy revealed that he died from from "multiple drug intoxication."
Katz treated D.G. between June 13, 2014 and Dec. 21, 2015 for anxiety and ADHD, the state department said. He was prescribed Adderall and clonazepam.
On July 11, 2014, D.G. tested positive for un-prescribed oxycodone and morphine. However, Katz didn't discuss or document D.G.'s recent use of un-prescribed opiates.
On Aug. 7, 2014, D.G. tested positive for un-prescribed buprenorphine and morphine, according to the state department. But Katz indicated in his patient record that he was "not on opioids," except when he got them from "the hospital and friend."
Although Katz knew D.G. told a therapist he was buying buprenorphine "off the street" and was diagnosed with "opioid dependence," Katz didn't follow up with his admission and waited eight months before requesting a urine test.
D.G. tested positive for un-prescribed oxycodone, but Katz still didn't follow up properly.
The fourth patient, a 27-year-old woman known as M.V.-C., was transported to the hospital on Feb. 4, 201 due to a suspected drug overdose, the state department said.
She was found unconscious in Katz's home bathroom with a tourniquet and used syringe lying nearby.
Several dies after being admitted into the hospital, she died, according to the state department. She was in possession of a small bag filled with heroin and cocaine.
Her autopsy showed M.V-C. died as a result of complications from multiple drug overdose.
Katz treated M.V-C. in 2014 and 2015 for "opioid dependence" and ADHD, the state department said. Like the other patients, he didn't keep adequate records documenting her treatment.
M.V.-C. told her mother that she went to Katz for treatment because she'd be able to get controlled substances for him in exchange for cash.
She began staying with Katz around January 2016 because she didn't have enough money or a place to live, according to the state department. The two had sex shortly after she moved in at Katz's request.
After she died, her mother cleared out her storage unit, where she found stacks of blank prescription pads,including a pre-signed one from Katz, as well as several pill bottles of prescribed medications from Katz.
Even though M.V.-C was discharged from his care, Katz continued to prescribe her medications.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation on November 2015 after multiple complaints about the way Katz prescribes medications, according to the state department. He was arrested on Apr. 5 when he prescribed Norco to an undercover deputy without any sort of medical exam.
Katz was released several hours later after posting a $3,000 bond.