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Doctors suspended for medical marijuana, opiates violations

WAKEFIELD -- The state board that oversees physicians on Thursday temporarily suspended the licenses of two doctors, one physician for improperly prescribing medical marijuana on “multiple occasions’’ and a second for making opiates available to a patient who later died of an overdose.

The Board of Registration in Medicine unanimously voted to suspend the licenses of Dr. John C. Nadolny, 57, and Dr. Fred J. Thaler, 60, after about two hours of closed-door hearings at the panel’s Wakefield headquarters.

Neither doctor could be reached for comment afterward. They will appear for hearings within days before the Division of Administrative Law Appeals to determine the length of their suspensions, which are effective immediately.

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According to the board’s order in Nadolny’s case, he is currently the medical director of Canna Care Docs, a medical marijuana dispensary company with several locations.

As of May 20, Nadolny, who also has privileges at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital, had issued 5,792 medical marijuana certificates and violated protocols on “multiple occasions,” the order said.

Among the violations were failing to diagnose patients with a debilitating medical condition as required by law and delegating to nurse practitioners the authority to make such diagnoses.

The order did not specify how many certificates were improperly issued.

Medical marijuana licenses have come under scrutiny after Worcester County prosecutors said David Njuguna, 30, visited a dispensary and was on the drug and impaired when he plowed into State Trooper Thomas Clardy’s cruiser on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton in March, killing Clardy as he sat inside.

Njuguna, who has a medical marijuana license, has pleaded not guilty to several charges including manslaughter in connection with Clardy’s death. He has denied through his lawyer that he was impaired at the time of the crash.

After the hastily scheduled emergency board meeting on Thursday, Dr. Candace L. Sloane, the chairwoman, declined to say whether Clardy’s death had prompted the board to act.

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She did say, however, that the governor is “committed to patient safety and to making sure that we extinguish this opiate crisis.”

Opiates were at the heart of Thaler’s suspension. His order stated that he had inappropriately prescribed the drugs to one patient identified only as JM, who died of a suspected drug overdose in May 2015.

Thaler, who is affiliated with Steward Good Samaritan Medical Center, had treated JM between 2013 and February 2015, prescribing him the opiate Percocet despite his “possible history of alcohol abuse,” the order said.

Thaler also prescribed several other opiates for JM and failed to conduct an adequate initial evaluation of him, appropriately manage his risk of misusing medication, or explain medication increases, the order said.

The document also stated that Thaler prescribed Oxycodone and other opiates to a female patient identified as CW, despite her documented history of substance abuse.

In addition, he improperly communicated with her about her treatment through social media, according to the order.

Sloane, the board chairwoman, said the fact that the panel convened the emergency meeting to address the two cases showed its “undying devotion and commitment to patient safety.”


Globe correspondent Olivia Arnold contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.