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‘Candy Man’ VA Doctor Just Got His Medical License Suspended For ‘Downright Dangerous’ Opioid Policies

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The infamous Dr. David Houlihan, known by veterans and employees at the Tomah VA medical center as the ‘Candy Man’ for his dangerous opioid prescription practices, has just had his medical license suspended in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board came to its decision after a deep investigation into Houlihan, the former Chief of Staff at Tomah, WKOW 27 reports.

Houlihan’s opioid policies were called “downright dangerous” at a board hearing Wednesday morning. While the VA fired Houlihan in November 2015 for the culture of fear and retaliation he created, but principally for his incredibly lax opioid prescription policies, he still had his license.

The board finally took action against Houlihan after he decided to open up a psychiatry practice on his own. Yolanda McGowan, attorney for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, stated that Houlihan only met the standard of care for two patients out of an examined sample size of 27. In another case, Houlihan added a prescription of Suboxone to a 35-year-old patient in 2014, even though the patient was taking numerous other medications, leading to a toxic combination. The patient died.

“If ever there was a case for summary suspension, this is it,” McGowan said at the board hearing.

“I find it incredibly difficult for myself, incredibly difficult for my family – the people who know me – to not have the actual facts come out,” Houlihan said in response to the board’s suspension of his license, according to WKOW. “I am a good doctor, I do care very much for my patients. There is a need for good care, great care for our veterans and I think my record really has shown that I’ve done that.”

Houlihan’s attorney claims he was scapegoated by both the medical board and the VA. Houlihan is set to challenge his termination from the VA with an appeal on April 11.

Additionally, Houlihan still has the chance to dispute the medical board’s ruling within 20 days.

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