Kentucky psychiatrist tied to at least 12 overdose deaths

July 5, 2012

The state Board of Medical Licensure suspended the license of a Danville psychiatrist after an investigation into allegations that he over-prescribed medication and at least 12 of his patients died of overdoses in the past year, according to an attorney with the board.

The license board issued an emergency order suspending Dr. Melborne Williams, prohibiting him from "performing any act which constitutes the practice of medicine."

According to the complaint, at least 12 of Williams' patients in Clay County died of overdoses. It also reveals that informants identified the doctor as a source for Xanax.

According to documents released by the medical licensure board, Williams was working at CentEx, a clinic in Danville. A doctor who worked with him testified that patients complained to him that "junkies" were hanging around the clinic. The doctor said he noticed carloads of people coming from various parts of the state, cramming the parking lot and waiting rooms. He said a child was overheard asking, "Mommy, do you want me to pee in a cup again." The doctor told investigators that he noticed some of Williams' patients were prescribed large doses of Xanax, sometimes with a "cocktail" of other drugs.

According to the complaint, In December 2011, a medical investigator got a call from a nurse at Manchester Memorial Hospital. She did not want to give her name, but she said she noticed an increase in Xanax overdoses and that several of the victims were patients of Williams. The next month, Clay County Coroner Danny Finley told the medical investigator he had worked numerous overdose deaths and several of the victims were patients of Williams. Further investigation revealed 11 people under Williams' care had died of drug overdoses in Clay County. A 12th victim was identified the following month.

Documents indicate that in March 2012, investigators with the Drug Enforcement and Professional Branch of the Office of Inspector General analyzed Williams records and found he was the number one prescriber of Xanax in the state with 1,351,745 dosage units on 12,622 prescriptions recorded from April 2011 through March 2012.

Officials say Williams has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation.

LEX 18 has several crews working on the story. Tune in to LEX 18 News at Noon for the latest.

You can read the full complaint here: Williams - Complaint 062612.pdf

You can read the order for a psych evaluation here: Williams - Order to Submit to NeuroPsych 062612.pdf

The company that employed Williams released a statement Friday afternoon, which reads:

"Centex provides psychiatric care to individuals with mental health concerns. Dr. Mel Williams was only employed by Centex for one month nearly one year ago.

"When concerns were raised regarding Dr. William's practices, Centex promptly terminated him and all concerns were reported by Centex immediately to the appropriate agencies. Centex fully supports review and regulation of medical practice and applauds the measures that have been taken in this devastating situation.

"Dr. Williams practices are not reflective of Centex, which provides quality, appropriate care through committed and capable staff."

Source: "At Least 12 Overdose Deaths Tied To Danville Doctor," (NBC TV), June 29, 2012.


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