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Rhode Island Surgeon Suspended for Drug Diversion

Michael C. Coburn, MD, admitted to injecting self with stolen surgical meds.

Published: January 7, 2013

The Rhode Island Department of Health suspended a general surgeon's license on Jan. 3 after he admitted to injecting stolen propofol and fentanyl.

Michael C. Coburn, MD, has been on a leave of absence from Kent Hospital in Warwick since Nov. 15. According to published reports, another physician caught sight of Dr. Coburn, 50, removing syringes from the OR. A search of the hospital room where he slept uncovered needles, syringes, vial caps and bloody gauze.

"Kent Hospital took immediate and appropriate action upon learning of this incident, the details of which were outlined by the Department of Health in its findings," said hospital spokesman Jim Beardsworth, in an e-mail. "Further, all patients under the care of this physician were immediately transitioned to the care of other surgeons."

Dr. Coburn's profile on the Kent Hospital website has been removed. He had overseen the hospital's cancer committee, and in August 2011 was named one of U.S. News & World Reports' top doctors.

Calls to the Rhode Island Department of Health and Dr. Coburn's office at the Kent Surgical Associates practice were not immediately returned.

David Bernard

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