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13 N.J.A.R. 639

Dengrove, Robert S., M.D., In the Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of the License of
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Citation: 13 N.J.A.R. 639
Decision Date: 1986
Agency: BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS
Synopsis: A complaint was filed against respondent, a psychiatrist, alleging that he violated various statutes, rules and standards of practice relating to treatment using controlled substances. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that respondent had prescribed both amphetamines and barbiturates to numerous psychiatric patients. Although respondent's actions were found not to constitute prescribing controlled substances in an in- discriminate manner or gross negligence, the manner in which he prescribed controlled drugs to some patients constituted repeated acts of negligence under N.J.S..4. 45:1-21d and also violated the amphetamine rule, N.J..4.C. 13:35-6.16 (recodified as N.J..4.C. 13:35-6.7). He also committed professional misconduct under N.J.S..4. 45:1-21b and 21e by sending an unsolicited professional opinion to a court about a litigant without disclosing the personal interest of his patient in the litigation. The administrative law judge, finding that respondent's actions were based on poor judgment rather than evil intent or desire for personal gain, recommended as a penalty censure and reprimand, as well as fine of $7,500 and $10,000 in costs. Upon review of this initial decision, the Board of Medical Exam- iners adopted the findings of fact of the administrative law judge, but also found that the facts supported a finding of an additional violation of the amphetamine rule regarding one of the patients. The Board expressly concurred with the judge's legal conclusion that in the con- text of a disciplinary proceeding under N.J.S.A. 45:1-21b, a finding of gross or repeated malpractice need not be supported by proof of In re Dengrove actual harm to any patient. The Board modified the penalty, holding that N.J.S.A. 45:1-25 permits separate penalties for multiple violations of the same statute. The Board ordered respondent to pay a fine for each count proven as to each patient, totaling $7,000, as well as $10,000 in costs. The Board suspended respondent's license for two years, but stayed the suspension if all other terms of the penalty were met. The Board reasoned that ordering a suspension would serve to deter similar conduct by respondent and others. Joan D. Gelber, Deputy Attorney General, for the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners, petitioner (W. Cary Edwards, At- torney General of New Jersey, attorney) Steven I. Kern, Esq. and Richard T. Astorino, Esq., for the respondent, Robert S. Dengrove, M.D. (Kern and Augustine, attorneys)
Rule(s) Cited: 13:35-6.7 
Statute(s) Cited: 45:1-21(b) 45:1-21(d) 45:1-21e 45:1-25