Montgomery County supervisors will resume the search for a county jail medical practitioner following the resignation of a local doctor less than 24 hours after his appointment.
The county’s Board of Supervisors, faced with an April 15 deadline to get medical staff at the jail, hired Amsterdam physician Glenn Pizarro on Tuesday to fill the post while a permanent solution is sought.
Wednesday morning, a local newspaper published a story on Pizarro’s appointment that highlighted his citation in 2008 by the state Board for Professional Medical Conduct and his subsequent placement on probation, with restrictions to his practice.
Pizarro contacted the sheriff’s department on Wednesday morning and resigned, according to Undersheriff Jeff Smith.
Smith told The Gazette via email that the doctor resigned because “he just did not want to deal with all of the negative publicity.”
Pizarro could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The development puts the county in a difficult position that will likely lead to increased costs, county Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas Quackenbush said later Wednesday.
Nurse practitioner Theresa Klausner is the medical care provider for jail inmates, but she is leaving the position April 15 after three years there, and Quackenbush said that in the absence of a medical professional on staff, inmates will have to be sent to a hospital emergency room.
He said he was aware of Pizarro’s probation and noted that most of the restrictions imposed by it have expired.
The fact that Pizarro is medical director at the 120-bed River Ridge Living Center nursing home as well as operator of a private practice indicated that he is capable of handling the job, Quackenbush said. And it was the county, not Pizarro, that reached out in the search for a doctor, he added.
“We asked him to do us a favor for a short time; the guy was truly doing us a favor,” he said.
The state’s Board of Professional Medical Conduct cited three allegations against Pizarro in a 2008 consent agreement, including failing to recognize low blood sugar in a patient, ordering an inappropriate increase of insulin for another patient and not monitoring blood clotting time for another patient.
The agreement called for Pizarro’s practice to be monitored by a board-certified physician for two years, ending in September 2010. But a license restriction remains in effect prohibiting Pizarro from practicing emergency medicine, according to the state Board of Professional Medical Conduct website.
Emergency medicine in that context is defined as diagnosing and treating unforeseen illness or injury in a setting requiring expeditious medical, surgical or psychiatric care, according to the state Health Department.
River Ridge Living Center administrator Susanne Guttenberg on Wednesday said Pizarro has been serving patients well at the Amsterdam nursing home.
“He takes care of our residents very well. He’s a very, very good doctor,” Guttenberg said.
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Categories: Schenectady County