An Ahwatukee Foothills doctor's medical license has been suspended after a state oversight board determined he had prescribed pain killers and other controlled medication improperly and had failed to keep patients' records.
On June 9, the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners in Medicine and Surgery issued its final ruling on suspending the license Lynn C. Sweet, a family practice doctor with Priority Care Clinic at 12020 S. Warner Elliot Loop.
"His license is currently suspended," said Barbara Myers, the board's deputy director.
Sweet repeatedly prescribed large amounts and high doses of controlled medications to more than a dozen patients from April 2008-09, sometimes without conducting physical exams, according to the board's findings. The board also found that he had failed to recognize "drug seeking behavior" in three patients, and that he continued to refill prescriptions for chronic pain patients with little medical assessment and without referrals to specialists.
Sweet's lawyer, Jeffrey Grass, said an appeal has been filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. The court was expected to rule this week on the doctor's request for an emergency stay on the one-year suspension, he said.
"We believe he will be exonerated," Grass said. "The expert we retained disagreed with the board's conclusion about Dr. Sweet's medical care."
In the meantime, other doctors at Priority Care Clinic are handling his patients, said the clinic's office manager, who did not wish to be identified.
The Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners licenses and regulates more than 2,500 doctors of osteopathic medicine in the state, according to the board's website. The board comprises five osteopathic doctors and two members of the public who do not have financial ties to the osteopathic profession. A doctor's license to practice osteopathic medicine is similar to those possessed by doctors of medicine, but the two are regulated by separate oversight agencies.
Sweet's is the only license the board has suspended for at least the last two years, according to the board's records. None have been revoked during that time.
"It isn't common," Myers said.
The suspension, which boils down to several counts of "unprofessional conduct," bars Sweet from practicing osteopathic medicine for a year. He also received five years probation, during which time he is prohibited from treating chronic pain patients and from prescribing narcotics and opioids, according to the board's findings.
In one case, Sweet was found to have prescribed refills for large doses of Oxycodon, Oxycontin and Xanax to a 22-year-old man who said he'd been injured in an ATV crash in Mexico. Sweet did not perform a proper physical examination of the man, according to the board.
The doctor also received an additional two years of probation, to run concurrently, for failing to keep medical records for a patient who needed them to file a disability claim, according to the board's findings.
Sweet received his Arizona license in 1997 after graduating from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, Calif., according to board records.