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State files formal complaint against Fort Wayne pain doc

Friday, December 28, 2012 - 4:51 pm

The Indiana Attorney General's Office filed a formal complaint last week against the Fort Wayne pain doctor who founded Centers for Pain Relief. The complaint reiterates allegations about Dr. William Hedrick the state made when requesting the emergency suspension of his license earlier this month.

The complaint asks the state Medical Licensing Board to impose “appropriate disciplinary sanction” against Hedrick and to order Hedrick to pay the costs of the state's investigation of him. Hedrick has agreed to an emergency suspension of his license until the Jan. 24 meeting of the licensing board.

The complaint said Hedrick:

– Prescribed unsafe combinations of drugs.

– Prescribed unusually high pill counts and showed a preference for drug combinations “highly valued for diversionary purposes.”

– Had numerous patients who died from “multiple drug toxicity.”

– Failed to follow safe standards in “interventional pain therapies” because “he employs these techniques in a non-diagnostic method, exceeds the appropriate amount of steroid per procedure and repeats procedures too frequently.”

The complaint said, “These procedures are completed in a manner inconsistent with patient benefit, but consistent with financial gain” for Hedrick.

Hedrick's attorney, Stacy Cook, said through a spokeswoman, "We have not filed a response to the attorney general's formal complaint, as filing a response is not required in this setting, nor is it customary. The next action will be the Jan. 24 hearing with the Medical Licensing Board."

After the emergency suspension Dec. 6, she said through a spokeswoman, “While we deny the allegations, we take them very seriously. To reassure his patients and the communities he serves, we voluntarily agreed to a short and temporary suspension until next month on Jan. 24 to allow us time to present all the facts necessary to satisfy the Medical Licensing Board regarding his practice. We have already started working cooperatively with the Attorney General's Office to resolve their concerns.”

She added that “Dr. Hedrick is committed to his patients and the continuity of their care. He has already made arrangements for his patients to be treated by other qualified physicians in his practice. Patients may call his office for assistance.”

Cook has declined to answer questions about the doctor's business interests in other medical practices and facilities.

The website for Centers for Pain Relief now maintains a lower profile than it did a month ago. Since the state's action against Hedrick, first Hedrick, then all other staff members, disappeared from the practice's website.

The practice lists three locations in Fort Wayne and one in New Haven, as well as ones in Bluffton, Huntington, Columbia City, Auburn, Kendallville and other northeast Indiana cities.

Lutheran Health Network officials confirmed that he worked there from 2002-2009, when he served as co-medical director of the network's Rehabilitation Hospital, 7970 W. Jefferson Blvd. Only the Centers for Pain Relief is mentioned in the state's complaint.