State to Pot Doc: Stop!

From the Daily Astorian, June 3, 2011

Doctor Poses ‘An Immediate Danger to the Public and to His Patients’

The Oregon Medical Board has issued an emergency suspension for the doctor working at Astoria’s new medical marijuana resource center.

Dr. Gregory Rodriguez Gomez‘ license to practice medicine in Oregon — already on a 10-year probation — was put on hold indefinitely Thursday afternoon.

An Oregon Medical Board investigation revealed that Gomez had not notified the board of his practice locations and didn’t follow through on education commitments outlined as part of his September 2010 probation.

Gomez has shown repeated disregard for the terms of the probation, which were designed to protect the public, the medical board found.

“(Gomez’) continued practice of medicine would pose an immediate danger to the public and to his patients,” reads the order issued Thursday.

Gomez was not available for comment as The Daily Astorian went to press [June 3, 2011].

The board did not know about Gomez’ work in Astoria until a May 25 story in The Daily Astorian included details of his practice here.

Gomez started visiting Nature’s Choice Alternative Medicine every two weeks to assess patients who wanted cards for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. He is the co-owner of The Help Clinic in Corvallis, providing help for patients seeking alternatives to traditional pain management, he said in the May story. At the time, Gomez provided similar services at several satellite locations throughout the state.

The suspension will show up on a national database, and would limit his ability to practice in other states, said Kathleen Haley, the executive director of the Oregon Medical Board.

Gomez can choose to contest the suspension, Haley said. In the meantime, the board will gather more information and move toward final discipline, which could include further restrictions on his license, a full revocation, a reprimand or a fine.

“It’s unfortunate,” Haley said. “We try to rehabilitate physicians if at all possible.”

Gomez’ license was put on probation after Gomez had sexual relationships with a patient and a medical assistant while working at Sherwood Providence Medical Clinic in 2007, according to the settlement agreement with the medical board. Also involved in the order were several later cases when Gomez’ treatment of male patients for erectile dysfunction with testosterone injections was questioned.

Nick Clark, the owner of Nature’s Choice, hadn’t heard about the suspension from Gomez when contacted this morning by The Daily Astorian. Clark said he would talk with Gomez soon to find out what is going on, but added that he’d make alternate arrangements if Gomez was no longer available.

“If it’s not resolved, then someone else can come in,” Clark said.

As of today, about 130 members have joined Clark’s club, with three to five new memberships coming in every day, he reported.

READ – Gregory Gomez, Oregon Medical Board June 2 2011