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US Doctor, Battling Drug Addiction, Found Dead in Hospital Closet

by Gopalan on October 18, 2008 at 3:30 PM
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 US Doctor, Battling Drug Addiction, Found Dead in Hospital Closet

A 35-year-old doctor from Massachusetts, battling drug addiction, found dead in an operating room storage closet at a hospital earlier this week. His death is being investigated as a possible suicide.

It also highlights the substance abuse problem in the medical community, media reports say.


Dr. Brent Ashley Cambron, an anesthesiologist had been terminated from service 14 months ago from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston  where he was found dead Tuesday.

Records show that twice in the past year and a half he stole  powerful drugs from two hospitals after his employment there had ended. He was due in a municipal court when the lifeless body was recovered from a Beth hospital closet.

Cambron's death underscores the sensitive issue of substance abuse problems in the medical community and also raises questions about security at the two hospitals where he previously worked.

Cambron's Boston attorney, Paul Cirel, said Cambron was a good man who very much wanted to be a good doctor.

"He was wrestling with his demons and he was at times successful in that fight but unfortunately it seems that he lost that fight," Cirel said.

Those demons were apparently what sent Cambron on an after-hours hunt for controlled substances, a reflection of an addiction that officials say is not uncommon in the pressurized world of medicine.

A 2001 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Cambron was certified in Massachusetts as an anesthesiologist with a speciality in pain management, according to the state's Board of Registration in Medicine. He performed his residency at Beth Israel and then worked at the hospital until June, 2007, when his privileges there were terminated, according to the hospital.

That month, Cambron also signed a voluntary agreement with state regulators to not practice medicine in Massachusetts pending an investigation involving an unspecified disciplinary action against him, records show.

"A voluntary agreement not to practice is a tool the board uses to ensure that the public is being protected during an ongoing investigation," said board of Registration spokesman Russell Aims.

While declining comment on Cambron's case specifically, Aims said, "cases involving substance abuse by physicians is a significant part of the board's disciplinary caseload."

Jake Wark, spokesman forSuffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said "though it is too early to offer a comprehensive assessment," on the cause of death, "Mr. Cambron's death is being investigated as a possible suicide.''

Court records show that on July 3, 2007, Cambron was arrested around 10 p.m. at Caritas Norwood Hospital, after he locked himself in a bathroom and refused to come out.

Cambron, disoriented and stained with blood, later told police he was retrieving a bag for another anesthesiologist who was "moonlighting" there.

Police found seven syringes that contained Cambron's blood and several potent drugs in the bag.

Cambron "admitted that he took the drugs from several of the rooms, but most of the drugs that he stole came from the first floor operating room," the report stated. "Cambron also admitted that he injected himself in the femoral artery with the drugs while he was in the bathroom at the hospital."

He was charged with drug possession, larceny and trespassing. The case is pending in Norfolk Superior Court. A hospital spokesman said Cambron was part of an anesthesiology group with the hospital from 2005 to 2006, but declined further comment.

Cambron was due in court for a second substance abuse and larceny charge involving another night time incident, this time at Beth Israel Deaconess.

Hospital security discovered the former doctor inside the hospital April 25. At the time, Cambron was supposed to be in residential drug treatment program.

Security officers, alerted that a man was wandering through areas of the hospital, located Cambron sitting in an exam room. He allegedly had 20 syringes, some of which had been used, that contained a variety of drugs, Boston Globe reported.

Wrote security officer Jean Marcin his report. "He was very confused and unaware.'' Cambron told the security officer "he was hanging out with some buddies that worked here, and they must of left,'' Marc wrote.

A second security officer arrived and questioned Cambron. "He told me he used to be a doctor here and was terminated,'' Sgt. George Emanuelwrote.

Cambron was arraigned in Roxbury Municipal Courtthe following day where he pleaded not guilty and was released on cash bail.

Beth Israel spokesman Jerry Berger said the hospital is investigating how Cambron was able to enter secure areas of the hospital undetected twice in the past six months, including yesterday's apparent suicide. He declined further comment.

Source: Medindia

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