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Doctor provided minimal oversight to physician assistant accused in patient's death

P.A. Angela Lorenzo overseen by Dr. Carmen Jones
Posted: 6:00 PM, Feb 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 21:56:34Z

"It's a little too soon in life to lose your mom," Darcy Spears observed while talking to Amber Pierce about her mother's untimely death.

"Yes," Pierce replied. "It's been very hard. To me--I've been more in shock."

Amber Pierce lost her mother in April, 2016. At 62 years old, Leann Kasper died from an overdose of opiates and xanax prescribed by Physician Assistant Angela Lorenzo.

"Whatever my mom asked for, she gave her," Pierce recalled.

For Leann Kasper's death and questionable treatment of other patients, the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners suspended Lorenzo's license and charged her with multiple counts of malpractice and deceptive conduct.

It's the latest in a string of disciplinary actions against her by both the State Medical and Pharmacy boards.  

Dr. Carmen Jones was Lorenzo's most recent supervising physician.

"What did you know about her past issues?" Spears asked Dr. Jones.

"I didn't know much," Jones replied.

"Did you look her up? Did you even Google her to find out?"

"I did and we talked and my understanding is they were over and done."

A pediatrician for 26 years, Dr. Jones sought out extra training to be able to supervise Lorenzo's practice, Modern Medical, which specialized in weight loss, hormone therapy, cosmetic treatments and some pain management.

"Opiate prescriptions--was she writing those with or without your oversight?" Spears asked.

"State says she can do that," Jones answered. "So, yes, I would not be consulted. I don't have to be consulted."

Nevada Administrative Code says the supervising physician is responsible for all the medical activities of her physician assistant.

"A number of these prescription bottles have your name on them," Spears told Jones, showing her the bottles. "What did you know about Leann Kasper?"

"Now we have to stop." Dr. Jones said, indicating for us to stop recording during our interview..

She declined to get into any specifics about Lorenzo's treatment of Leann Kasper, but she did agree to talk about Lorenzo's practice in general and the red flags it raised.

"There was some disregard for the Board's instructions and disregard for proper procedure, disregard for the laws and rules that she's governed by."

Jones resigned as Lorenzo's supervising physician on July 1, 2017. She says part of the problem overall lies with lax state law.

"There are no, like, specific recommendations and requirements that the state puts forth. I mean, there are some minimum requirements."

Like once-a-month visits where the doctor "Shall spend part of a day" at the physician assistant's office to act as a consultant and monitor the quality of care.

The doctor must also "Review and initial selected patient charts."

"With the very few patients that were technically required for me to oversee, you know, that's a tough one, because obviously things can go through and get missed."

Dr. Jones is not currently facing any charges, but the state's investigation is ongoing.  

Lorenzo's license is still suspended with no date set for a reinstatement hearing.

 

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