By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
CONCORD — The New Hampshire Board of Medicine has reprimanded and fined a physician employed by Hillside Medical Park in Gilford for failing to treat a patient appropriately while practicing emergency medicine at Memorial Hospital in Conway.
Dr. James Clifford, 69, a family practitioner, agreed to a settlement to resolve allegations of professional misconduct following the suspension of his privileges at Memorial Hospital and an investigation undertaken by the Board of Medicine. Under the terms of the settlement Clifford was fined $1,000 and ordered to undergo 12 hours of continuing education.
In January, a female patient, who had lost her left kidney, came to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital complaining of severe pain in her right side and nausea. Clifford treated her with intravenous fluids and several medications then discharged her with instructions to see her primary care physician. The next day the patient returned with pain, vomiting and signs of acute kidney failure, and underwent surgery. The board found that Clifford's decision to discharge the patient and failure to promptly place a stent resulted in "acute renal failure."
Clifford ended his employment at Memorial Hospital less than two weeks after the incident.
The board determined and Clifford acknowledged that if disciplinary proceedings were pursued it would be proven that Clifford "has displayed medical practice which is incompatible with the basic knowledge and competence expected of persons practicing emergency medicine."
In March, Clifford was charged with driving while intoxicated after losing control of his car on Route 11A near Gunstock Mountain Resort then veering off the road and sliding down an embankment. He pleaded not guilty and the charge was dismissed, but also pleaded guilty to reckless operation. He was fined $1,120, with $500 suspended on condition of good behavior for one year, and surrendered his driving license for 60 days. He was also ordered to complete a therapeutic program.
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