2005-02-16 / Front Page
Doctor surrenders license
BY JOYCE BLAY
LAKEWOOD — Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Flavius Thompson will not be practicing medicine in New Jersey until he has cleared his name of charges against him. The suspension of his medical license will remain in effect pending the outcome of a trial for improper disposal of medical waste at the clinic he owns on East County Line Road.
A hearing had been scheduled by the state Board of Medical Examiners on Feb. 9. However, a press release from the Division of Consumer Affairs indicated an agreement had been reached in which Thompson agreed to voluntarily surrender his license.
Thompson owns and operates the Pleasant Women’s Pavilion. He was charged Jan. 19 with illegal storage of Class 4 medical waste (syringes and needles), since his license to generate medical waste had expired; causing the disposal of medical waste that included blood products, and violation of the Clean Water Act for disposing of aborted materials into the sanitary sewer system, which flows into the Metedeconk River after being treated by the Ocean County Utilities Authority.
All the criminal charges carry possible jail time and a fine if Thompson is found guilty, according to Detective Larry Doyle of the Lakewood Police Department, who investigated the matter.
In addition to improper disposal of medical waste, the administrative complaint filed by the state cited unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the clinic as well as failure to comply with certain provisions of the board’s in-office anesthesiology regulations.
The Board of Medical Examiners was prepared to convene the hearing had the agreement not been reached, according to the news release.
“The allegations in our complaint against Dr. Thompson directly touch on patient safety,” Attorney General Peter C. Harvey said in the release. “Any suspicion that the safety of patients may be put at risk will result in our swift action to protect the public, as demonstrated in this matter.”
Acting Consumer Affairs Director Jeffrey Burstein said in the prepared statement that the Board of Medical Examiners considered failure to follow regulations and procedures serious allegations which the panel would investigate on behalf of the public.
The suspension of Thompson’s license remains in effect pending the resolution of all criminal charges against him and until further order of the Board of Medical Examiners.
Thompson is represented by attorney Robert Tarver of Toms River.
The doctor’s troubles surfaced after his receptionist, Lakewood resident Liza Berdiel, 24, was arrested and charged Jan. 13 with performing abortions without a medical license, Doyle said.
After Thompson noticed that his drugs were short, he became suspicious that Berdiel was performing abortions herself and pocketing his patients’ cash payments, Doyle said. Thompson contacted the authorities and Berdiel was charged with injecting abortion-inducing chemicals in three women whom Doyle said were patients of Dr. Thompson.
Thompson’s activities came under scrutiny by authorities after police searched the clinic on Jan. 15 and discovered that the physician also may have violated the law.
“During our investigation, we found that medical waste material was being improperly disposed of down the sanitary sewer at that location,” said Doyle, referring to the toilet. “He also has a facility in Barnegat, but we have no suspicion that any further illegal activity is going on at that location at this time.”
Thompson was arrested and released on his own recognizance.
A recorded message left by Thompson on the clinic’s answering machine said the office would be closed until March and to call back at that time.
According to Jeff Lamm, a spokesman for the state Division of Consumer Affairs, no date has been set for an administrative hearing or to lift the suspension on Thompson’s medical license. He said he did not anticipate that the matter would be resolved by March.