Oklahoma VA doctors’ history of misconduct has come under fire recently. With the VA under increasing scrutiny, staff misconduct at the Oklahoma VA facilities was reviewed by the Senate recently. At several VA medical centers in Oklahoma, “many doctors” have disciplinary records and have disciplinary records and have been penalized by the state medical licensure board according to a Senate report. One provider at the Norman Veterans Center was cited for past sexual misconduct, as well as improper prescription writing and drug addiction.
James Kent Robberson, had been in trouble with the Medical Board twice before being hired by the VA in 2013. In 2000, he was cited by the Oklahoma Medical Board for “improper fondling” of at least three female patients during routine exams in his office. A fourth woman was fondled by Robberson even after he had been told to have a female chaperone in the room with him if he was going to be doing a physical exam. Robberson also was cited for being addicted to painkillers from 1989 to 1999. In 2010, only 3 years before vein hired by the VA, Robberson was cited by the Medical Board for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a nurse who he was treating for back pain. The nurse also became addicted to pain medications, and Robberson was giving her prescriptions to feed her addiction. He also wrote painkiller prescriptions 35 times in just one year for the woman’s husband. Robberson is an employee of the Norman Veterans Center.
But he is not the only doctor hired by the Oklahoma VA with past problems of addiction and discipline by the Medical Board.
Another Norman VA doctor, Karis Ann Bernhardt, M.D. was disciplined for substance abuse and lying to state medical boards about addiction. Bernhardt, a medical doctor currently working at the Norman Veterans Center, was disciplined by the state Medical Board for substance abuse issues and writing prescriptions for potentially dangerous drugs to her ex-husband. She lied to Medical Board investigators about attending weekly rehabilitation meetings to overcome addiction.
Michael Whinery, D.O. has a long history of disciplinary problems, despite working for the VA for years. In 2011, he was cited for absenteeism because he was receiving large amounts of addictive painkillers from a doctor in Norman. The same year, he was arrested twice for drunk driving, a day apart, in July 2011. In 2010, he was cited for unlawfully prescribing addictive painkillers to fellow VA employees. Before ever being hired by the VA, he was cited for practicing medicine while impaired by drugs and alcohol and attempting to gain improper access to prescription medicine. In 1988 he was charged with public drunkenness and carrying a firearm under the influence of alcohol. He still works at the Claremore VA Center as of 2014.
Ken Adams, a Physicians Assistant at the Claremore VA, was charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of two veterans in 2013 at the Claremore Veterans Center. In August 2014, Adams faced another court hearing after prosecutors said he attempted to obtain a new passport.
Other Oklahoma VA providers have been cited by the Medical Board for other violations, including James Williams, M.D. for prescription violations. Williams currently works at the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center. Patrice Mooney, D.O. was cited by the Medical Board for failing to complete her residency or competency evaluation approved by the board. Mooney was enrolled in a residency program and was terminated from that program after failing to have an attending present during a medical operation, which placed the patient at risk. A 2004 complaint alleged that Mooney had a pattern of avoiding faculty involvement in her patient care. Mooney works at the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center.
Gordon Scott Jones, D.O., was disciplined in 2006 for writing prescriptions to his son and to himself. At that time he struggled with an apparent addiction to tramadol, a painkiller. Jones completed rehabilitation in 2006 following a car accident the previous year. He currently works at the Claremore Veterans Center.
The Oklahoma VA system is not the only military health care system with questionable hiring practices. In more than one medical malpractice case, we have uncovered evidence of questionable hiring practices in the Army, Navy and VA. We have uncovered evidence in our own cases that military physicians lost their medical licenses, were disciplined by Medical Boards, were criminally convicted of sexual misconduct, and were investigated for child abuse. If you suspect that you or a loved one has experienced substandard medical care, you need a team of attorneys experienced in investigating medical malpractice and physician misconduct.