Stamford doctor’s license suspended for alcohol and drug use, medical board rules

The State Medical Examiner’s Board on Tuesday suspended a doctor’s license in Stamford after state Department of Public Health officials said his excessive use of alcohol, drugs and mental illness could affect his ability to practice medicine safely.

The statement of charges said that Dr. Jeffrey Stern used alcohol and drugs excessively in 2019 and 2020, and since 2019, has been suffering from mental illness or emotional disorders.

Department of Public Health records show that Stern was arrested on August 29, 2020 and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use and drunk driving. It was not clear where the arrest took place. DPH records show that in 2019, Stern temporarily relinquished his medical license in New York and voluntarily agreed to stop practicing medicine in Florida.

In the statement of charges, the Department of Public Health confirmed that SternAnd the Listed in state records as living in New York City, he erroneously answered “no” when asked in his 2020 Connecticut medical license application whether he had voluntarily renounced any professional license or faced potential discipline in any other state.

From 2020 to 2021, Stern also wrongfully used his Connecticut license to treat patients in New York and violated Connecticut law by prescribing opioids to patients through telehealth appointments. She added that during the same period, he violated state law by prescribing controlled substances to patients who did not display physical or medical disorders.

From 2020 to 2021, the statement said, he also prescribed a more than 72-hour supply of a controlled substance to a patient and failed to review electronic records to monitor prescription drugs.

At the meeting, additional charges were added against Stern after Joel Newton, an attorney for the Department of Public Health’s employees, said the Department of Health had received new allegations from the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Department of Drug Control about Stern’s prescribing of controlled substances.

Darius Marzik, a Brooklyn, New York attorney representing Stern, objected to the new charges being added and demanded that a public hearing in the case continue through August. The Board agreed to continue after suspending Stern’s license.

In an unrelated case, the board also voted to reprimand Derek William Donovan of Colchester’s physician assistant’s license and put his license on probation for five years because a DPH investigation found he had used alcohol and marijuana excessively since 2020.

Donovan chose not to appeal the allegations and agreed to the punishment in a consent order accepted by the council on Tuesday.

The order, who said he had an emotional disorder or mental illness, states that Donovan falsified medical records in 2021 and made false written statements that same year to mislead people working on behalf of the Department of Public Health.

During the probationary period, Donovan must undergo random drug and alcohol tests, complete a course in professional ethics, undergo treatment, and attend support group meetings. Under the order, he is also prohibited from working as a solo practitioner.

Matthew Carlon, Withersfield’s attorney representing Donovan, told the board that the consent order was a “fair and equitable agreement.”

This story was reported in partnership with the Connecticut Health I-Team

a non-profit news organization dedicated to health reporting.

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