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Local doctor’s license suspended by state board

Immirne M. Ouwinga M.D.

Dunkirk, MD - To patients, she is known as “Dr. O.” The Southern Maryland-based family medicine doctor finds herself facing serious allegations. According to documents dated Jan. 16 and signed by the deputy counsel of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s Health Occupations Prosecution and Litigation Division, Immirne M. Ouwinga M.D. has been charged by a Maryland State Board of Physicians disciplinary panel with unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine, being professionally, physically and/or incompetent; and addicted to or habitually abusing narcotics or controlled dangerous substances.

According to the charging document’s allegations of fact, the disciplinary panel issued “an order for summary suspension of license to practice medicine” Jan. 15. It was noted in the case summary that in or around December 2015, Ouwinga “self-reported that she had been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. By letter dated May 9, 2016, the Board [of Physicians] issued [Ouwinga] an advisory letter.”

The board initiated its investigation of Ouwinga last September “from the chief medical officer/vice president of medical affairs of a health care facility,” the document stated. For confidentiality reasons, the Board of Physicians has not released the identity of the individual who filed the complaint, medical facilities or other individuals involved in the matter. An unnamed individual reported to the complainant that Ouwinga was observed highly intoxicated, in possession of prescription bottles with other patients names on them, using a marijuana vape pen, storing alcohol in her office, accepting alcohol from patients as gifts, offering alcohol to a patient, having a “unprofessional relationship with a patient and striking an office colleague in the face.

The complainant told the board that from a “medical staff and community safety perspective, these allegations are very concerning.” The individual who made the allegations to the complainant was interviewed by the Board of Physicians’ staff and provided them with photographs of a patient’s prescription bottled discovered while visiting Ouwinga’s residence. The work colleague who was allegedly struck by Ouwinga was also interviewed by board staff and confirmed the incident did occur.
Additionally, the Board of Physicians obtained Ouwinga’s medical records, subpoenaed the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, reviewed Ouwinga’s medication profile from an area pharmacy, notified her of the investigation and, in November, conducted a site visit to her practice. In addition to finding empty prescription pill bottles, a white pill Ouwinga was unable to identify was located in the office and a bottle of Gabapentin, a prescription-only medication prescribed to treat neuropathic pain. “When questioned regarding this, [Ouwinga] claimed that her patient returned it to her because of its side effects,” the document stated.

The Board of Physicians directed Ouwinga to undergo a psychiatric/addiction evaluation. “The evaluator stated that he ‘saw significant evidence that [Ouwinga’s] personal and professional judgment is impaired’ and concluded that she ‘poses a risk to her patients in the practice of medicine at this time,’ ” the document stated.
A conference with the Board of Physicians’ panel sitting as a Disciplinary Committee for Case Resolution is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 at the board’s office in Baltimore.

TheBayNet.com has reached out to Dr. Ouwinga but she has not responded to our request for comment. Back in November a message was posted on the Facebook page of Ouwing's practice. It read, "On behalf of Dr. O: She would like to thank you all for your understanding, support, thoughts, and prayers. Though we do not have an exact date in which she will return, please rest assure she has worked diligently over the days to arrange continuity of care. We would appreciate everyone respecting her privacy during this difficult time in her life."

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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