State board suspends Anchorage Dr.'s license

Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2005

ANCHORAGE - A well-known women's health advocate in Anchorage has been stripped of her medical license by the Alaska State Medical Board, which cited a hospital report that the doctor failed to meet minimum standards for obstetric care.

Colleen Murphy's license was suspended Thursday at an emergency meeting held by the board without a hearing for the doctor. Board members said they deemed the meeting necessary because Murphy posed a "clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety."

The board action stemmed from a decision by Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage to cancel Murphy's obstetric privileges after a committee review of hospital records for 10 patients, according to a written suspension notice from the state Division of Occupational Licensing.

After reviewing the 2004 records and interviewing Murphy, the hospital committee concluded she failed to meet the minimum standard of care for five of the 10 patients. The committee cited an inappropriate technique during a delivery, delayed response when caring for patients and other concerns, according to the notice. The committee's report was not made public.

Paul Stockler, Murphy's attorney, said neither he nor Murphy knew a suspension hearing had been set, although the doctor knew she was being investigated. A state investigator asked Murphy earlier this year to voluntarily stop practicing obstetrics until Alaska Regional had finished its review of her work, according to the suspension notice. She declined.

The medical board does not have to notify doctors about an emergency hearing to remove their medical license, said Leslie Gallant, the medical board's executive administrator. Stockler said he intends to ask for a hearing, as state law allows.

Murphy, 49, said she believes the suspension was politically motivated. Patients cited in the reviewed medical records are still a part of her private medical practice, she said.

"I'm not afraid to speak up," she said. "Some people admire me for it, and some people don't like me for it. I guess some people don't like me right now."

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