Doctor’s License Is Suspended
Dr. Subramaniyam Chandrasekhar, M.D., physician and surgeon at Wetzel County Hospital, was recently stripped of his medical license by the West Virginia Board of Medicine. Dr. Chandrasekhar’s license was revoked due to his inability to practice medicine and surgery with reasonable skill and safety due to the abuse of alcohol.
Wetzel County Hospital and the West Virginia Board of Medicine met at a special meeting held Sept. 29 where it was determined Dr. Chandrasekhar had failed to comply with a term of his Second Amended Consent Order and violated probation, rendering license revocation. “Dr. Subramaniyam Chandrasekhar is presently unable to practice medicine and his privileges at Wetzel County Hospital are suspended in accordance to the West Virginia Board of Medicine’s action,” commented Wetzel County Hospital CEO George Couch.
Pursuant to this order, originally entered into by and between the West Virginia Board of Medicine and Dr. Chandrasekhar on Dec. 1, 2005, and amended in July 2006 and November 2009, Dr. Chandrasekhar agreed to submit to unlimited, random, and unannounced testing of bodily fluids and/or breathalyzer testing.
According to the investigative report, Dr. Chandrasekhar violated a term of the order on Sept. 20 when the board’s investigator contacted Dr. Chandrasekhar to give his customary random, unannounced testing of bodily fluids. Though the board’s investigator instructed him, as was her routine practice, to provide an observed sample of bodily fluids, he did not provide an observed sample and the bodily fluids he provided were not warm enough to register in the correct temperature range for bodily fluids. When asked to provide another sample, Dr. Chandrasekhar refused. It was also stated in the report that upon Dr. Chandrasekhar’s entrance to the lab for his urine test he seemed “anxious and impatient” and that after refusing to submit another urine sample, he left the lab without washing his hands or flushing the toilet.
Dr. Chandrasekhar recalls a different account of the events of Sept. 20. He claims that on Sept. 20 he had his office nurse call the lab to tell them that Dr. Chandrasekhar would be coming for his screen test and requested to have the paper work ready upon his arrival as his schedule was very busy that day. However, when he got to the lab he was delayed 10 minutes as the request was not fulfilled. He took off his coat and patted his pockets to demonstrate that he did not have any abnormal contents in his pockets. He stepped into the bathroom and did as instructed. At that point the lab form previously requested was still unavailable, wherein the lab technician left the sample on the table and went to retrieve the form. The technician returned, poured the sample into a larger container, and stated the sample did not appear warm enough. She said she needed another sample from Dr. Chandrasekhar, who replied, “Go ahead and submit it anyway. It should be okay.”
Without any knowledge of any speculations against him, Dr. Chandrasekhar left the lab understanding his specimen was going to be submitted and was unaware of any concerns until his receipt of Order of Revocation was received at this office on Oct. 5. As Dr. Chandrasekhar’s lawyer Elba Gillenwater stated, “Had Dr. Chandrasekhar known of the events surrounding the rejection of his sample, he would have taken immediate steps to rectify the situation.”
Notably, Dr. Chandrasekhar does not take issue with the facts as reported to the board, with the exception to the statements that he “refused” to provide another sample. Gillenwater added his client has been providing random, unannounced samples for the board for a long time, underlining that Dr. Chandrasekhar had his last taste of alcohol on Feb. 10, 2003.
“It is unfortunate that the incident unfurled as it did, especially in light of the fact that Dr. Chandrasekhar has been undergoing the alcohol screening since even before the Second Amended Consent Order,” Gillenwater said. Gillenwater added that given the fact his client was less than three months away from the end of his five-year probation period, he would not have done anything to jeopardize his probation and furthermore did not believe that he was ever doing anything in violation of his probation.
Dr. Chandrasekhar has requested an appearance before the board at its next regularly scheduled meeting in November and be permitted to offer testimony and evidence demonstrating that he has been and remains alcohol and drug free. Furthermore Dr. Chandrasekhar hopes that upon consideration thereof, the board will revoke its Order of Revocation, reinstate his license, and be permitted to serve the remainder of his probation period.
Couch added the hospital has arranged temporary physician coverage for Dr. Chandrasekhar’s practice until the scheduled meeting in November. “At that point we will know if Dr. Chandrasekhar’s medical license might be reinstated and if he will be permitted to return to the practice of medicine in West Virginia,” Couch said. Should his license be reinstated, Couch stressed that Dr. Chandrasekhar would then have to reapply to the WCH Medical Staff for privileges.
“Any final determination regarding Dr. Chandrasekhar’s future status at Wetzel County Hospital will be made by the Board of Trustees and only upon the recommendation of the Wetzel County Hospital Medical Staff,” Couch stated. “Should Dr. Chandrasekhar not be able to return to practice medicine at Wetzel County Hospital, every effort will be made to recruit a physician to take over his practice.”
Dr. Chandrasekhar held an active license to practice medicine and surgery in the State of West Virginia, License No. 20461, from May 2001 until Dr. Chandrasekhar surrendered his license to the Board in December 2001 due to chemical dependency. Dr. Chandrasekhar’s license was reinstated by the Board in June 2002 and Dr. Chandrasekhar surrendered his license to the Board again in April 2003 due to a relapse.
Dr. Chandrasekhar’s license was reinstated in December 2005 after more than two years of sobriety. He appeared before the Licensure Committee of the Board at two regular meetings of the Licensure Committee for full discussion of his health and well being and practice plans and had furthermore been evaluated for chemical dependency at Shepherd Hill Hospital, Newark, Ohio, and had undergone residential treatment for alcohol dependency at Shepherd Hill Hospital and at the Central Ohio Recovery Residence. He had attended aftercare and Caduceus meetings and, after a relapse, had successfully taken part in the physicians’ health program of the Medical Society of New Jersey from November 2003 through May 2005, when he was living in New Jersey. He also regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and kept a log of the same, which was reviewed by the Licensure Committee.
Dr. Chandrasekhar is or has been licensed in New York and Ohio. According to his licensee record he also has zero malpractice cases on file.