Emergency Suspension of James Shortt M.D.


On April 13, 2005, the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended the license of James M. Shortt, M.D. The board's order, which has no time limit, said Shortt's actions “render him unfit to practice medicine and constitute a serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare.” The suspension was based on allegations that Shortt had (a) unjustifiably prescribed testosterone (a steroid drug) to four men; (b) infused patients with hydrogen peroxide; (c) helped a patient obtain laetrile (an illegal and bogus cancer drug); and (d) improperly diagnosed a patient with Lyme disease and failed to report the alleged case as required by law. Press reports indicate that Shortt is also under federal investigation for illegally prescribing steroid drugs to football players.


BEFORE THE STATE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS OF SOUTH CAROLINA .

In the Matter of:

JAMES MICHAEL SHORTT, M.D.,

License No. 18805

(NO. 2005-112)

Respondent


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ORDER OF
TEMPORARY SUSPENSION

WHEREAS, the above-named Respondent is a physician duly licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners of South Carolina (the Board) to practice medicine in South Carolina; and

WHEREAS,, beginning no later than January 4, 2004 and continuing thereafter, Respondent prescribed testosterone, an anabolic steroid, to patients 1, 2,3, and 4 (all of whom are male patients known to Respondent) and to others in doses and frequencies that were extremely unlikely to have been prescribed with any legitimate medical justification, and that were not consistent with any acknowledged medical indication for this drug, such as wasting syndromes, recovery after burns or trauma, or hypogonadism, as shown by the Affidavit of Cheryl McNair, which is attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference; and

WHEREAS,, during the same period. Respondent issued prescriptions for tamoxifen (anti-estrogen used for breast cancer prevention in high risk women) and clomiphene (follicle stimulating hormone used on ovulatory failure) for one or more of the above-referenced male patients for which there is no FDA-approved indication.

WHEREAS,, from time to time during the year 2004, Respondent issued prescriptions to patient 5, an individual known to Respondent, for Phentermine, which is a Schedule IV controlled substance; and

WHEREAS,, in addition, Respondent issued other prescriptions for patient 5 during the year 2004; and

WHEREAS,, from time to time during the year 2004, Respondent issued prescriptions, including thyroid prescriptions, to patient 6, an individual known to Respondent, and;

WHEREAS,, Respondent has not produced records that show an examination of patient 5 by Respondent in 2004 or earlier, or prescriptions for patient 5 in 2004 or earlier, and Respondent has produced no records at all for patient 6 for the year 2004, as shown by the Affidavit of Cheryl McNair, which is attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference; and

WHEREAS,, it appears that the prescriptions referenced in the foregoing paragraphs were issued in violation of numerous provisions of state law; and

WHEREAS,, Respondent has engaged in a number of other practices that other physicians have previously testified under oath to have been outside the standard of care, appears in the Affidavit of Chery Ml cNair, and which may be summarized as follows:

  1. Until stopped by a Cease and Desist Order, Respondent regularly infused patients with intravenous hydrogen peroxide;
  2. On at least one occasion. Respondent prescribed testosterone for a terminally ill prostate cancer patient;
  3. Respondent also assisted the same patient referenced in subparagraph (b) above with obtaining Laetrile, a substance that is illegal in the United States;
  4. Respondent diagnosed and treated patients for Lyme disease based only on the results of tests by an unaccredited out-of-state laboratory with a 100% positive rate for Lyme disease;
  5. Respondent did not report the alleged Lyme disease cases to DHEC, as required by law, until this issue was pointed out during a previous hearing involving Respondent.

WHEREAS,, the Board of Medical Examiners, by majority vote of a quorum of its members, and following the recommendation of its investigative review committee, has authorized the filing of Formal Complaints against Respondent, and also has authorized the Office of General Counsel of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to pursue any legal action deemed necessary in conjunction with this and

WHEREAS,, the Board of Medical Examiners, by majority vote of a quorum of its members, fends that a sufficient prima facie showing has been made through the Affidavit of Cheryl McNair and the matters referenced therein that Respondent's actions render him unfit to practice medicine and constitute a serious threat to he public health, safety or welfare; and

WHEREAS,, the Board of Medical Examiners, by majority vote of a quorum of its members, finds that a sufficient prima facie showing has been made through the Affidavit of Cheryl McNair and the matters referenced therein that the public interest imperatively requires that Respondent's continued practice of temporarily suspended pending hearing and further Order of the Board, subject to the Notice of Hearing filed and served herewith; and

WHEREAS,, the Board expresses no opinion on the merits of this matter, except to determine, as set forth above, that a sufficient prima facie showing of a need for this Order has been made. The Board recognizes that a determination on the merits of this matter, including the issue of whether Respondent should be disciplined, can only be made after a full evidentiary hearing at which the evidence for both sides has been presented and heard.

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, in accordance with S.C. Code Ann. §1-23-370(c), that Respondent's license to practice medicine in this State is hereby temporarily suspended, effective immediately, pending hearing and until further Order of the Board; and

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Respondent may, within ten days of the service of this Notice and the accompanying Temporary Order of Suspension on him, request a hearing before a designee or designees of the Board of Medical Examiners, at which hearing Respondent may ask the Board's designee(s) to determine whether the temporary suspension issued this date should remain in effect pending further Order of the Board. Upon receipt of such a request by the Respondent, the Administrator of the Board shall appoint one or more hearing officers, who shall promptly schedule a hearing on the issue of whether the temporary suspension issued this date should remain in effect pending further Order of the Board, and

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the President of the Board may sign this Order of Temporary Suspension for the Board, a majority of a quorum of the full Board having considered and voted to take the actions set forth above.

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF
LABOR, LICENSING & REGULATION
BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS

______________________
Satish M. Prabhu. M.D.
President of the Board

April 13th, 2005.




BEFORE THE STATE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS OF SOUTH CAROLINA .

In the Matter of:

JAMES MICHAEL SHORTT, M.D.,

License No. 18805

(NO. 2005-112)

Respondent


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AFFIDAVIT OF
CHERYL McNAIR
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Personally appeared before me, Cheryl McNair, who, being duly sworn, states the following facts:

1. I am an investigator with the Office of Investigations and Enforcement, South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and in that capacity have received and reviewed documents relating to the Respondent, and am personally familiar with the matters set forth herein.

2. In this capacity, I have made certain records pertaining to Respondent's practice available for review by medically qualified personnel.

3. The reviewing personnel concluded among other things that:

  1. Frequent prescriptions for the anabolic steroid testosterone were given during the year 2004 to patients 1, 2, 3, and 4 (all of whom are male patients known to Respondent) and to others in large doses and with unusual frequency. These prescriptions were often for testosterone in injectable form with accompanying prescriptions for needles and syringes.
  2. These dosage and refill levels are not consistent with any acknowledged medical indication for this drug, such as wasting syndromes, recovery after burns or trauma, or hypogonadism. This is true both for the individuals who received the prescriptions and for any human being.
  3. The dosage and refill levels instead provide a strong indication that these testosterone prescriptions were used for indications, such as increasing body muscle mass, that were not medically therapeutic and therefore not legal.
  4. In addition, prescriptions for tamoxifen (anti-estrogen used for breast cancer prevention in high risk women) and clomiphene (follicle stimulating hormone used in ovulatory failure) were also written for male patients for which there is no FDA-approved indication.
  5. The use of testosterone at these levels is absolutely not within the accepted standard of care for a physician practicing family medicine in the State of South Carolina.

4. It should be noted that the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse has cautioned that "while anabolic steroids can enhance certain types of performance or appearance, they are dangerous drugs, and when used inappropriately, they can cause a host of severe, long-lasting, and often irreversible negative health consequences. , . . Anabolic steroids can lead to premature heart attacks, strokes, liver tumors, kidney failure and serious psychiatric problems."

5. Also, in my official capacity, I served a subpoena on Respondent on April 6, 2005, seeking among other things the patient records of patients 5 and 6, both known to Respondent, whose names appear on Respondent's prescription logs at Congaree Pharmacy in West Columbia, South Carolina.

6. During the year 2004, Respondent issued prescriptions to patient 5, an individual known to Respondent, for Phentermine, which is a weight loss drug and a Schedule IV controlled substance.

7. In addition. Respondent issued other prescriptions for patient 5 during the year 2004.

8. From time to time during the year during the year 2004, Respondent issued prescriptions, including thyroid drug prescriptions, to patient 6, an individual known to Respondent,

9. The records of Respondent for the aforementioned two individuals contain no record of any examination by Respondent of those patients for any period during the year 2004 in which drugs were prescribed for those individuals, nor is there anything in Respondent's records for those patients to indicate that he prescribed any drugs whatsoever for those individuals during that period.

10. Neither the Respondent nor anyone working in his office has made any claim that other records exist for the above two individuals. However, I have checked with state and federal law enforcement authorities who in the past seized all of Respondent's patient records, and was informed that those agencies do not have any records for the above two individuals.

11. In addition, other reviewing physicians have previously testified under oath that the following practices of Respondent were outside the standard of care:

  1. Until stopped by a Cease and Desist Order, Respondent regularly infused patients with intravenous hydrogen peroxide;
  2. On at least one occasion, Respondent prescribed testosterone for a terminally ill prostate cancer patient;
  3. Respondent also assisted the same patient referenced in subparagraph (b) above with obtaining Laetrile, a substance that is illegal in the United States;
  4. Respondent diagnosed and treated patients for Lyme disease based only on the results of tests by an unaccredited out-of-state laboratory with a 100% positive rate for Lyme disease;
  5. Respondent did not report the alleged Lyme disease cases to DHEC, as required by law, until this issue was pointed out during a previous hearing involving Respondent

12. The reviewers have concluded that the practices referenced above indicate that Respondent is practicing medicine in a manner that is seriously threatening and dangerous to the public. and that it is necessary and appropriate for the Board of Medical Examiners to take emergency action to protect the public from further harm by this physician.

Further Affiant saith not.

______________________________
Cheryl McNair

SWORN TO before me this
13th Day of April, 2005.
/s/ Karen Y. Newton
NOTARY PUBLIC FOR SOUTH CAROLINA
MY COMMISSION EXPIRES: 9/18/2007.


This page was posted on April 16, 2005.

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