State medical authorities have disciplined a Van Nuys doctor charged with responsibility for inappropriate injections given to a middle-aged gangrene patient who later died.
Medical officials also revoked the license of a Sun Valley doctor who allegedly prescribed heavy amounts of drugs to people with no symptoms and falsely certified them as ill so they could collect state disability payments.
The California Board of Medical Quality Assurance decided earlier this month to place Dr. Frank J. Mosler of Van Nuys on probation for three years, beginning Sept. 5, in connection with his treatment of two patients, including a 56-year-old woman afflicted with gangrene.
The woman, identified in state legal papers only as "M. K.," died in 1983 after undergoing an emergency foot amputation. Gangrene is a condition in which body tissues decay because of constricted blood circulation.
State officials said the woman's death occurred after Mosler gave her inappropriate intravenous chelation therapy. Chelation is normally used to reduce levels of poisonous metals, such as lead, in patients' blood.
In addition, Mosler injected the woman with dimethylsulfoxide, also known as DMSO. A medical board spokeswoman said she was unaware of any approved medical use for DMSO, which stirred controversy several years ago as a purported miracle drug but has never been certified by federal drug regulators.
"Obviously, the board felt in its ruling that it was unprofessional conduct and incompetent practice of medicine," spokeswoman Linda McCready said.
Mosler and his attorney, Henry Lewin, declined comment.
Authorities also charged that Mosler repeatedly allowed unlicensed assistants in his office to administer chelation therapy to patients while he was on vacation. State law requires that a physician be present during such treatments, McCready said.
Lack of Evidence
Officials originally charged that Mosler's treatment caused the woman's death, but there was not enough evidence to prove it, said Deputy Atty. Gen. William L. Marcus. He noted that M. K. was "fundamentally ill" before she went to Mosler and had refused to have her foot amputated even though another doctor had told her it was necessary.
According to state documents, Mosler was put on five years probation in 1981 after another patient developed hyperthyroidism when he allegedly over-prescribed drugs and failed to properly treat her.
While Mosler will be allowed to practice during his probation, officials ordered him to have his medical charts reviewed weekly by another physician and to take extra medical classes. He was also ordered to stop using DMSO.
The medical board canceled the license of Dr. Kanu D. Sharma, who allegedly prescribed excessive amounts of painkillers, sedatives and other powerful drugs to four people with no medical symptoms.
Sharma allegedly wrote a woman prescriptions for 90 tablets of various drugs one week and 100 the next week, state documents said.
Sharma, who practiced at Serra Medical Clinic in Sun Valley, was also charged with falsely certifying two of the people as chronic back-pain sufferers, making them eligible for state disability payments.
But Sharma's lawyer, Bruce J. Kelton, charged that undercover state investigators "took advantage" of the workload pressures on Sharma in a high-volume clinic, where he treated 30 to 40 patients a day, to mislead him into writing unwarranted prescriptions.
According to officials, Sharma was convicted in 1987 of falsifying documents in connection with a grand jury investigation of charges that he prescribed drugs to patients with no medical symptoms.