A Medford doctor's medical license will be suspended after the Oregon Medical Board found he diverted opiates from patients for his own use and administered drugs to a female employee in a "special cup of tea" without her consent.
Dr. Shawn Michael Sills, an anesthesiologist and pain specialist, will have his license suspended for 60 days, but remains in danger of losing his license if he doesn't fulfill the requirements of his 10-year probationary term by order of the Oregon Medical Board, dated July 12.
The board's stipulated order, signed by Sills on May 24, describes how Sills began diverting opiate-based medications for his own use in November 2005. He asserts in the order that he is now clean and sober.
"He's as close as you can get without losing your license," said Randy Day, compliance resource investigator for the medical board.
Day said Sills has been assigned a compliance officer, who will review his medical records.
Sills will have quarterly meetings with the compliance officer, and will be interviewed by the medical board annually.
He will be required to enter a health care professionals rehabilitation program, which requires urine testing.
Sills' license will be suspended for 30 days starting Sept. 1, and again for another 30 days starting Dec. 1. He also has to pay a $5,000 fine.
The medical board only deals in civil matters, Day said. But now that the case has been wrapped up, his department will forward its findings to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office for review.
"We have an obligation to report any wrongdoings," he said. "If it hasn't been done, it will be done soon."
Sills, who now runs Interventional Pain Consultants in Medford, declined to be interviewed Monday. He formerly was part-owner of Pain Specialists of Southern Oregon.
According to the medical board order, Sills' drugs of choice were Dilaudid and Fentanyl, both narcotic pain relievers.
The medical board's order cites two cases in which Sills prescribed drugs without a legitimate medical purpose or didn't follow correct procedures in prescribing controlled substances. The board found he violated professional boundaries in treating an employee he was infatuated with at Pain Specialists of Southern Oregon in 2007 and 2008, including giving her medications in a "special cup of tea" to treat flu-like symptoms without her consent.
The order describes how Sills, after his initial bout using opiates, remained drug-free until fall of 2007, when he again diverted opiated medications for his own use. His usage increased in February of 2008, the order states. Sills underwent a detoxification program in May of 2008 and more treatment between August and October of 2008, it states.
To protect the names of the patients cited in the order, the medical board refers to them as "Patient A" and "Patient B."
The board lays out details of Sills' infatuation with his employee. Patient A was hired at Pain Specialists of Southern Oregon in 2006. In 2007, Sills became infatuated with the woman, the order states.
In May 2007, the employee complained of flu-like symptoms at her home. Sills administered an intravenous drip to help her relax. The woman apparently wasn't suffering flu-like symptoms, but was emotionally distraught over a recent nonconsensual sexual encounter with her husband. Sills offered to examine her, but she refused, the order states.
By fall of 2007, Sills offered to enter into a physical relationship with the patient, but she declined, then avoided answering his phone calls, according to the medical board.
Sills gave her multiple cash gifts of about $100, but in the spring of 2008 he gave her a $5,000 gift when she was separating from her husband, the board's order states.
It says that at one point, Sills placed a sex toy in her car at her workplace. On another occasion, he invited her to his condo, again offering to enter into an intimate relationship. Patient A, who felt her job was on the line, declined, and Sills told her to find work elsewhere, according to the board order.
In another case, a 33-year-old male, known as Patient B, had chronic back pain and 13 previous back operations. Sills began taking care of him in July 2005. The patient's pain was managed with a regimen of various Schedule III drugs that included morphine and Oxycontin, the board order states.
In January 2006, Patient B underwent back surgery, but still experienced severe pain. He underwent more surgery, then requested injectable Demoral instead of Dilaudid to manage the pain.
On one occasion, Sills went to Patient B's home and administered a narcotic analgesic intravenously without access to monitoring or resuscitation equipment, the board order states. Sills also went to Patient B's home for social visits and to have dinner, it states.
According to the medical board, "Patient B's last visit to (Sills') clinic occurred on Dec. 30, 2008, when he expressed dissatisfaction with (Sills') care. Licensee wrote him a final prescription for a 90-day supply of Norco." Norco is a synthetic codeine pain killer.
Sills in 2004 founded Pain Specialists of Southern Oregon, which is listed in court records as a business name for Pain Care of Oregon LLC. Sills was terminated on July 21, 2009, according to a breach-of-contract suit filed by the two principals in Pain Care of Oregon, Drs. Joseph Savino and George Johnston. They cited his abuse of prescription drugs as their main reason for ousting Sills as a principal partner.
The suit was dismissed on April 21, 2011.
The doctors filed the suit to block Sills from allegedly attempting to woo patients and employees away from Pain Specialists to Sills' new practice, Interventional Pain Consultants.
Sills claimed the doctors owed him $6.6 million for his share of the practice. According to court documents, Pain Care of Oregon received $3 million in gross revenue in 2008.
In a statement filed in the suit, Roy Kline, chief executive officer for Pain Care of Oregon, described his general feelings about Sills during the spring and summer of 2009: "Dr. Sills' behavior during this time became strange, even bizarre. I personally believe there is a strong likelihood these problems are due, at least in part, to Dr. Sills' continued abuse of medication."
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.