Doctor indicted in abuse of six Physician stands accused in a case of neglect.

November 07, 1991|By Raymond L. Sanchez | Raymond L. Sanchez,Evening Sun Staff

Dr. Mark Davis, a Lutherville physician who treated hundreds of West Baltimore nursing home residents, has surrendered to authorities after being indicted on charges of criminally neglecting six of his patients.

Davis is the first person to be prosecuted under a 1989 state law making it a crime for contractual care givers to intentionally neglect "vulnerable adults," according to Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.

Davis' medical license was summarily suspended last year by the state Board of Physician Quality Assurance.

He surrendered to State Police yesterday, said Gale Rasin Caplan, director of the attorney general's Medicaid fraud control unit, and was released on his own recognizance after a bail hearing.

In indictments unsealed this week, a Baltimore grand jury charged Davis, 40, with the criminal neglect of six patients under his care at Poplar Manor Nursing Home in West Baltimore, said Curran.

The alleged offenses occurred between March 1989 and November 1990, Curran said.

Curran said his office has stepped up prosecution of patient abuse at a time when local prosecutors are overwhelmed with cases involving drugs and violence.

Davis' attorney questioned the timing of the indictments, saying an administrative law judge is hearing Davis' request to get his license back. A decision is expected within weeks.

"Dr. Davis absolutely denies these charges and looks forward to an opportunity to vindicate his reputation," said attorney Richard C.B. Woods.

Woods said the investigation has forced Davis and his wife to file for bankruptcy. The lawyer declined to comment on the specific allegations, but accused state officials of a "coordinated effort to shut down" his client.

Davis owned and operated the Poplar Manor Nursing Home at 3313 Poplar St., where he also served as attending physician for 157 residents until last November.

He was also medical director and attending physician for some residents at Dukeland Nursing Home, also in West Baltimore, and maintained a medical practice at 9141 Baltimore National Pike. Overall, Davis cared for 300 elderly patients.

"I can tell you the problems were with the way people were given medication, problems with the care of . . . ulcers, diagnoses that were not done and doctors' orders that were not followed," Caplan said of the indictments.

Poplar Manor and Dukeland have new ownership now, Caplan said.

In its emergency suspension of Davis' medical license in November 1990, the state medical discipline board noted numerous problems at Poplar Manor, including poor physician services and the administering of potentially toxic levels of medication.

Surveys by the state Department of Licensing and Certification and the peer review committee of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 1989 and 1990 cited Davis for unprofessional conduct and incompetence, the board's order said.

The board concluded that Davis' practice of medicine "posed a grave risk and an imminent danger to the public health."

Davis is to be arraigned in Baltimore Circuit Court Dec. 4. If convicted, Davis could face a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine on each neglect count.

The attorney general also announced the indictments yesterday of two Baltimore County nursing home employees.

Roland J. Brown, 25, of Columbia, was charged Monday with three counts of battery and two counts of abuse in the alleged striking three retarded patients in a group home Aug. 23. Katherine H. Keyes, 63, of Catonsville, was charged with battery on a disabled nursing home patient.

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