A city Circuit Court judge yesterday imposed a two-year jail term on a physician who pleaded guilty to charges that he neglected two patients at a West Baltimore nursing home.
Dr. Mark Davis, 40, of Lutherville pleaded guilty to two counts of ++ criminal neglect. Judge Clifton J. Gordy Jr. fined the doctor $5,000 in addition to sentencing him to two years on each count. The sentences will run concurrently.
Dr. Davis pleaded guilty to neglecting two patients at the 157-bed Poplar Manor Nursing Home between March 1989 and November 1990.
Dr. Davis is the former owner, medical director and attending physician at Poplar Manor at 3313 Poplar St. Yesterday, he became the first person to be convicted with neglect under a state law designed to protect nursing home patients and other adults who cannot care for themselves.
"We believe this was a terribly important case," said Gale R. Caplan, director of the office's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which prosecutes violators of the state law.
While at Poplar Manor, Dr. Davis failed to provide basic care for patients and turned down patients' requests for outside medical treatment, said Daniel R. Anderson, an assistant attorney general.
Prosecutors said many patients suffered from malnutrition, dehydration and untreated bed sores.
Bed sores caused one 86-year-old patient to have his leg removed and a 46-year-old paraplegic to have several toes amputated, prosecutors said. It was those two cases in which the doctor pleaded guilty yesterday.
Nurses at Poplar Manor told prosecutors that Dr. Davis ignored their requests that he tend to patients and that socks were used to bathe patients because Dr. Davis cut costs by eliminating wash cloths. Nurses also said Dr. Davis saved money by giving patients inexpensive dietary supplements.
After he bought Poplar Manor in August 1989, Dr. Davis began paying himself an annual fee of $40,000 as medical director and claimed annual management fees of $242,970, prosecutors said.
"His motivation [for the neglect] was for profit," Ms. Caplan said.
In November 1990, the state Board of Physician Quality Assurance suspended Dr. Davis' medical license because of the problems at Poplar Manor.
Dr. Davis is scheduled to appear in federal court today to answer charges involving allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Dr. Davis had also served as attending physician for the former Dukeland Nursing Home in the 1500 block of Dukeland Street. In addition, he maintained a separate medical practice in Ellicott City.
State health officials forced the sale of both Dukeland and Poplar Manor to new owners after finding patterns of patient neglect.