Family Health Network Doctor Surrenders Medical License After She's Found Drinking on the Job
A Cortland doctor who practiced medicine at the Family Health Network has surrendered her medical license after admitting that she cared for patients while she was under the influence of alcohol.
The State Board for Professional Medical Conduct announced Tuesday that Dr. Brenda Connolly has surrendered her medical license.
According to the Medical Board, co-workers at Cortland based Family Health Network smelled alcohol on Connolly in July and saw her going to her vehicle several times during the day. She removed a bag from her vehicle and threw it in a dumpster. The bag contained a half empty bottle of vodka.
In August management of the Health Center where Connolly worked asked her to provide a urine sample, at that time she admitted she had been drinking all night before coming to work and had submitted a patient's urine sample instead of her own.
In July she prescribed Victoza, an injectable drug for type 2 diabetes, for a patient who did not have diabetes.
Connolly also examined another patient with signs of severe postpartum depression in July. The mother indicated she had thought about harming her baby. Connolly prescribed Seroquel and Valium. Seroquel can cause increased depression and suicidal thoughts in young adults. Seroquel should not be used by women who are nursing.
The state charged Connolly with practicing negligently, practicing while impaired by alcohol or drugs and being a habitual user or alcohol or drugs.
The newsroom contacted Walter Priest Executive Director of the Family Health Network which has offices in Cortland, Marathon, Cincinnatus, and Moravia.
Priest released the following statement, "At Family Health Network, our patients are always our first priority, and we proactively monitor quality of care. As part of our obligation to patients, we take immediate steps when a problem is identified, and we did so as soon as we learned about concerns regarding Dr. Connolly’s conduct. We honor our professional and legal obligations to promptly report physician misconduct to the New York State Department of Health and we did so in this case. We cannot discuss the specifics of any employee matters but we can assure our patients and the community that we have taken all of the appropriate steps to ensure that our commitment to patient safety and quality of care has and will continue to be met."