The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners has revoked the license of a Las Vegas doctor who gave opioids to a Henderson judge who later fatally overdosed.
The medical board revoked the license of Dr. Steven Holper in September.
In July, Holper, a pain management doctor, was sentenced in federal court to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of illegally distributing a controlled substance.
Holper told the court that for 20 years he had treated and been friends with the late Henderson Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who died in March 2016. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled that the cause of death was an infection, but said that fentanyl intoxication was a contributing factor.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used for pain management that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a plea agreement with the court, Holper admitted to distributing fentanyl “outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose,” according to the medical board’s complaint.
As part of a settlement agreement, Holper may not apply for reinstatement of his medical license for three years. The board also issued a public reprimand, and will require reimbursement of the board’s fees and costs associated with its investigation if he reapplies for licensure.
Holper, who was 67 in July at the time of his sentencing, had practiced medicine in Nevada since 1990.
His attorney could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Two others disciplined
In other action against Southern Nevada practitioners, the board also revoked the medical license of Dr. Ronald Foote, but stayed the revocation and placed Foote on probation for five years, according to a settlement agreement.
The board found that Foote, an anesthesiologist and pain management doctor, had committed multiple violations of Nevada law, including failing to maintain complete medical records, conduct in violation of standards of practice and engaging in conduct that brings the medical practice into disrepute.
The latest complaint detailing allegations against Foote could not be immediately obtained from the medical board on Friday, a state holiday. The board previously has filed a series of complaints against Foot and suspended his license in connection with driving under the influence and allegations of sexual misconduct.
The agreement approved in September calls for Foote to reinstate his license by June 2020, at which time it would be placed in “inactive” status until completion of various conditions, including a competency assessment.
The agreement also calls for him to take 20 hours of continuing medical education “related to best practices in the prescribing of controlled substances.” It requires that he comply with toxicology monitoring and behavioral monitoring, as well as abstain from alcohol, controlled substances or dangerous drugs, other than those prescribed by another physician for medical purposes.
He was also fined $4,000 and ordered to pay costs associated with the board’s investigation.
Foote’s attorney could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Internist’s license on probation
The board also placed the license of Dr. Mane Shah on probation for up to five years for “connection of a felony relating to the practice of medicine.”
Shah, an internist, was accused of sexually assaulting a 68-year-old patient in 2013. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of battery by entering a form of guilty plea that required him to acknowledge only that prosecutors could prove their case.
“I think the settlement agreement was in the best interests of the citizens of the state of Nevada and Dr. Shah,” said John Hunt, Shah’s attorney.
“The board has implemented the appropriate remedial measures to ensure that Dr. Shah is a safe practitioner,” Hunt added, noting that the doctor had voluntarily had his practice undergo monitoring to alleviate any concerns by the board.
“Dr. Shah must be supervised at all times during any and all interactions with all female patients with a formal monitoring agreement,” according to the agreement.
He also was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and reimburse the board for its expenses.
Shah has no other complaints on his record.