Hayward ER doc gets reprimand in MinnesotaA Hayward emergency room doctor has had a reprimand added to her Minnesota license because of an action taken in Wisconsin.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
A Hayward emergency room doctor has had a reprimand added to her Minnesota license because of an action taken in Wisconsin.
Dr. Dorothy A. Novak, 63, was reprimanded by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board on March 20 because of an incident on April 8, 2012.
According to the Wisconsin board’s findings:
An 86-year-old woman came to the ER that day complaining of three days of abdominal pain with constipation, fever, nausea and vomiting. Novak ordered an enema, which failed to produce significant results. Novak sent the patient home with instructions to drink four quarts of an electrolyte solution to empty the colon, and then to continue using the solution daily.
The patient returned to the ER about 11 hours later complaining of incapacitating abdominal pain. After examination by another doctor, she was flown to another hospital, where she was found to have a large inflammatory mass in her pelvis. She died the next day.
The board ruled that Novak should have diagnosed an obstruction, and that the patient should have been hospitalized for observation. Novak was required to take a continuing education course on acute abdomen presentation and treatment and to pay $350 in costs. She did that, and her license was fully restored on May 10.
The Minnesota reprimand occurred on Sept. 7. In an interview, Novak said it reflected the action taken in Wisconsin. She said that at one time she practiced in Duluth emergency rooms, but she hasn’t done so for at least 10 years and doesn’t plan to. Nonetheless, she keeps her Minnesota license active, and the reprimand appeared when she reapplied this year, she said.
Novak was reprimanded once previously, in 2008, when the Wisconsin board ruled she had failed to diagnose testicular torsion in a patient in a 1999 incident. In that case, she was fined $400.
Novak said she didn’t hire a lawyer to represent her in either case but might have had it been earlier in her career. She thought the board overreached, she said.
“The medical boards are under a lot of pressure from the media,” Novak said. Of the 2012 incident, she said, “I don’t think I misdiagnosed the patient. I don’t think I was entirely responsible.”
Novak, who also is licensed as a family physician, continues to practice in the emergency room in Hayward and says she has no plans to retire.