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Doctor’s license suspended over dirty syringes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Board of Osteopathic Medicine unanimously approved a summary suspension of Roland Chalifoux’s license after the Marshall County¬†neurosurgeon was accused of reusing syringes on multiple patients.

In the wake of Friday morning’s vote, Chalifoux has the right to a hearing before the Board of Osteopathic Medicine within 15 days.

Diana Shepard, executive director of the Board of Osteopathic Medicine, said the suspension essentially puts Chalifoux’s Valley Pain Management clinic in McMechen out of business.

“There is no other physician working in that practice. So by virtue of him losing his license, there will not be any medical services allowed to be offered there at that clinic,” Shepard said.

Part of the board’s concern involved Chalifoux’s refusal to provide a list of his patients to the state Department of Health & Human Resources. The agency wants the information so it can notify current and former injection patients they may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Chalifoux was not notified of Friday’s emergency meeting, and the board’s legal counsel Jennifer Akers said notice was not required. All the board needed was information from an investigation by the state Bureau of Public Health, which began last year.

“Things their epidemiologists had actually observed, it involved non-sterile techniques. A number of things they observed that were very troubling,” Akers said.

Dr. Chalifoux responded to the Bureau of Public Health’s claims on Thursday in a written statement claiming:

“The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health findings from the investigation of my practice did not include the re-use of needles or syringes for multiple patients by me or my staff for any reason. This is a false allegation that is only found in the state of Ohio release.”

The Board of Osteopathic Medicine licensed Chalifoux to practice in West Virginia in 2004 after a year-long vetting process, one that typically takes only two to three weeks. Shepard recalled that board members were more cautious in their deliberations then because Chalifoux had faced allegations of malpractice in Texas.

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