The North Carolina Medical Board has charged Mitchell J. Ghen, D.O. with practicing medicine without a North Carolina license. The Notice of Charges states that Ghen inactivated his North Carolina license in April 2004 but interpreted spinal ultrasound reports on behalf of patients who were treated by another doctor at First Choice Family Health Care in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The Notice also expressed serious doubts that the tests were needed or were medical useful.
In 1993, the Florida Board of Medicine charged with “gross or repeated malpractice or the failure to practice osteopathic medicine with that level of care, skill and treatment which is recognized by a reasonably prudent similar osteopathic physician as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.” The complaint stated that he had failed to obtain a timely pediatric consultation in the case of an 8-month-old infant with meningitis who developed severe brain damage. The case was settled with a consent agreement under which Ghen agreed to pay a $2,500 fine and undergo a practice review by an independent consultant. In 2003, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Ghen had stopped performing stem cell treatment on patients with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) after the FDA seized patient records from his Florida Institute of Health in Clearwater, Florida.
BEFORE THE NORTH CAROLINA MEDICAL BOARD
Mitchell Joseph Ghen, D.O.,
|NOTICE OF CHARGES
NOTICE OF HEARING
The North Carolina Medical Board (hereafter, “Board”) has preferred and does hereby prefer the following charges and allegations:
1. The Board is a body duly organized under the laws of North Carolina and is the proper party to bring this proceeding under the authority granted it in Article 1 of Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes.
2. On March 21, 1998, the Board issued a license to practice medicine and surgery to Mitchell Joseph Ghen, D.O., license number 9800252 (hereafter, “Dr. Ghen”).
3. During the times relevant herein, Dr. Ghen practiced medicine in the State of South Carolina.
4. In 2004 and 2005, Mark Dennis Coyne, M.D. (hereafter, “Dr. Coyne”) practiced medicine at First Choice Family Healthcare in Wake Forest, North Carolina. On July 11, 2005, Dr. Coyne resigned from this practice.
5. On April 29, 2004, Dr. Ghen’s North Carolina medical license was made inactive by request.
6. In 2004 and 2005, Dr. Coyne ordered spinal ultrasounds for many of his patients. These ultrasounds were performed by technicians employed by Medical Neurological Diagnostics, Inc., a company located in Clearwater, Florida. Initially, the test results were sent, for interpretation, to one of two physicians, neither of whom possessed North Carolina medical licenses. Later, the test results were sent to Dr. Ghen, for interpretation, at a time when Dr. Ghen did not possess an active North Carolina medical license, for interpretation. Dr. Coyne reported that he reviewed the interpretations, informed the patients of the results, and adjusted their treatments if medically indicated.
7. A review of several of Dr. Coyne’s patient charts indicates serious concerns as to whether the spinal ultrasounds were clinically indicated, whether Dr. Ghen was qualified to interpret the ultrasounds, and whether any of Dr. Ghen’s interpretations had any medical utility.
8. Interpretation of spinal ultrasounds is the making of a diagnosis, and therefore, such interpretations constitute the practice of medicine under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-18(b).
9. By interpreting spinal ultrasounds on behalf of North Carolina residents during a time in which he did not possess an active North Carolina medical license, Dr. Ghen engaged in the unlicensed practice of medicine within North Carolina.
10. By engaging in the unlicensed practice of medicine within North Carolina, Dr. Ghen violated a law involving the practice of medicine within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-14(a)(7), and grounds exist under that section of the North Carolina General Statutes for the Board to annul, suspend, revoke, or limit Dr. Ghen’s license to practice medicine issued by the Board or to deny any future application he might make.
11. By engaging in the conduct described above, Dr. Ghen committed unprofessional conduct, including, but not limited to, departure from, or the failure to conform to, the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice, or the ethics of the medical profession, irrespective of whether or not a patient is injured thereby, within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90- 14(a)(6), and grounds exist under that section of the North Carolina General Statutes for the Board to annul, suspend, revoke, or limit Dr. Ghen’s license to practice medicine issued by the Board or to deny any future application he might make.
NOTICE TO DR. GHEN
Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-14.2, it is hereby ordered that a hearing on the foregoing Notice of Charges and Allegations will be held before the Board at 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 12, 2006, or as soon thereafter as the Board may hear it, at the Notice of Charges – Mitchell Joseph Ghen, D.O. Page 4 of 5 offices of the Board at 1203 Front Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, to continue until completed. The hearing will be held pursuant to N.C. Gen Stat. § 150B-40, 41, and 42, and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90- 14.2, 14.4, 14.5, and 14.6. You may appear personally and through counsel, may cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence in your own behalf.
You may, if you desire, file written answers to the charges and complaints preferred against you within 30 days after the service of this notice.
Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-40(c)(5), it is further ordered that the parties shall arrange a pre-hearing conference at which they shall prepare and sign a stipulation on pre-hearing conference. The pre-hearing stipulation shall be submitted to the undersigned no later than seven days prior to the hearing date. The right to be present during the hearing of this case, including any such right conferred or implied by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-40(d), shall be deemed waived by a party or his counsel by voluntary absence from the Board’s office at a time when it is known that proceedings, including deliberations, are being conducted, or are about to be conducted. In such event, the proceedings, including additional proceedings after the Board has retired to deliberate, may go forward without waiting for the arrival or return of counsel or a party.
This the 26th day of January, 2006.
NORTH CAROLINA MEDICAL BOARD
Robert C. Moffatt, M.D.