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Accused physician faces new charges Sex, theft allegations follow probe into expired flu shots
Mary Lane Gallagher, The Bellingham Herald
The Bellingham doctor accused of giving patients expired flu shots last year now faces new charges of unethical conduct, including unwanted sexual contact with a patient and theft.
Gary McCallum of Barkley Village Family Medical Clinic is also accused of providing negligent care, allowing unlicensed medical practice to take place in his office and poor record-keeping, according to the Medical Quality Assurance Commission.
The commission, which licenses doctors and other health-care providers, added the new charges to those filed last year alleging that amid the flu shot shortage, McCallum and his staff injected patients with vaccine made for the 2003 flu season and was therefore ineffective in 2004.
Some of the new allegations came to light during the investigation of the flu shots, said Donn Moyer, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Health. Others were brought forward as a result of the surrounding publicity last fall, he said.
McCallum referred a call for comment Friday afternoon to his attorney, who could not be reached for comment.
The licensing commission alleges McCallum had sexual contact in July 2001 with a patient who was seven months pregnant and had originally come to the doctor to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
McCallum called the woman at home that night, telling her to come to his office immediately because she had high levels of bacteria that needed to be treated or the baby would be at risk, the commission said. He asked her to come to the office by the back door, according to documents released by the commission.
McCallum allegedly had the patient undress and kneel on the examining table facing away from him, with her head resting on her folded arms so she could not see the object the doctor was using in the vaginal exam. She later went to the hospital to report she was raped, and a labial swab showed sperm was present, the documents say.
The commission also accuses McCallum of several instances of theft between 2000 and 2002, for which he received deferred prosecution, Moyer said. The documents allege McCallum concealed an espresso machine in an empty box in his grocery store shopping cart, left a grocery store with $116 in groceries without paying for them and put a Dictaphone pedal in his backpack at a business supply store.
The commission also charged McCallum with inappropriately treating a patient’s migraine headaches with repeated doses of the highly addictive drug Demerol. And some of McCallum’s staff members administered injections without the proper license to do so, the commission said.
Finally, the commission provided more information about the flu shots McCallum administered to patients last year. Commission records state he and his staff injected 71 people with vaccine he told investigators he had purchased from a clinic in Surrey, B.C., last year. But, the commission said, he took the vaccine doses from the clinic without permission.
The commission will hear McCallum’s case and decide on a punishment if a settlement can’t be reached before that, Moyer said. The commission has the power to impose sanctions or revoke McCallum’s license.
If his license is revoked, he may apply to get it back in 10 years, Moyer said.