Ky. doctor suspended in drug deaths

Sept. 26, 2012 at 7:06 PM

FLORENCE, Ky., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Fourteen patients of a Kentucky doctor whose license was suspended this week have died of drug overdoses in the past three years, investigators say.

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, in an emergency order issued Monday, said Dr. Gary Shearer failed to monitor patients who had been prescribed drugs like Oxycodone and OxyContin, and exhibited "fraudulent and unethical behavior," The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The board says the 14 patients died of prescription drug overdoses but Shearer's lawyer, Bob Sanders, said they were abusing heroin.

"Nobody has ever died as a result of taking drugs prescribed by Dr. Shearer as they were prescribed by Dr. Shearer," Sanders said. "I guarantee it."

Sanders said Shearer is cooperating with federal investigators.

The board began investigating Shearer, 67, who practiced in Florence, after discovering he prescribed more Oxycodone than most other doctors in the state. The state attorney general uses tracking software to find doctors who are overprescribing or patients who appear to be shopping for doctors who will prescribe drugs for them.

Judy Frost of Erlanger said her son, James, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, died of a drug overdose after being treated by Shearer.

"It makes me feel so good," she said as she looked at the empty parking lot at Shearer's office Tuesday. "I hope they bring criminal charges against him. I think he belongs in prison."

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