Medical Negligence and Substance Abuse: The Troubling Case of Dr. Michael Patrick Gallagher

24 December 2023

A closer look at the medical negligence cases involving Dr. Gallagher and the allegations of substance abuse that have come to light

The medical profession is one that requires utmost care, precision, and responsibility. However, in recent years, there have been troubling cases that have shed light on the potential dangers when these standards are not upheld. One such case involves Dr. Michael Patrick Gallagher, a physician whose medical license was temporarily suspended by the Texas Medical Board. The suspension followed the tragic death of Jenifer Cleveland after she received IV therapy at a med spa. As more details emerge, it has become apparent that Dr. Gallagher’s involvement in multiple medical negligence cases and alleged substance abuse issues raise serious concerns about patient safety and the accountability of healthcare professionals.

Jennifer Cleveland Case:

The Texas Medical Board’s investigation into the death of Jenifer Cleveland revealed alarming findings. Dr. Gallagher, who was the acting medical director for Luxe Med Spa, failed to properly supervise an unlicensed individual, Amber Johnson, who administered the IV therapy that resulted in Cleveland’s death. The Luxe staff was ill-prepared to handle the complications that arose during the treatment, leading to the tragic outcome. The suspension of Dr. Gallagher’s medical license highlights the need for stricter supervision and adherence to protocols in medical facilities.

The Death of Kimberly Ray and Ensuing Lawsuit:

Dr. Gallagher’s involvement in medical negligence cases extends beyond the Jennifer Cleveland incident. He was a witness in the lawsuit filed by the family of Kimberly Ray, who died during a routine procedure to relieve back pain. The lawsuit alleges that Ray stopped breathing during the procedure, and her condition went unnoticed until after the procedure had ended. An autopsy revealed that Ray suffered a spinal column injury during the rhizotomy procedure, resulting in brain damage and her subsequent death. The lawsuit also implicates other physicians and healthcare groups involved in the procedure, raising questions about the overall safety protocols and qualifications of the medical professionals involved.

Allegations of Misrepresentation and Impaired Colleagues:

The lawsuit filed by the Ray family further exposes concerning details about the qualifications and behavior of the medical professionals involved. Dr. Scott Houghton, one of the CRNAs participating in the procedure, misrepresented his qualifications to Kimberly Ray, presenting himself as a surgeon and physician. Additionally, the lawsuit reveals that CRNA Mauro Molina had a history of impairment while working at two Texas hospitals prior to his involvement in the procedure that led to Kimberly Ray’s death. These revelations underscore the importance of thorough background checks and ongoing monitoring of medical professionals to ensure patient safety.

Dr. Gallagher’s Role and Supervision:

During his deposition in the Kimberly Ray case, Dr. Gallagher shed light on his responsibilities as the chief anesthesiologist for Integrity Wellness Center, a subsidiary of Texas Healthcare Partners Group. He stated that his role included monitoring the performance of CRNAs and ensuring their adherence to proper guidelines. However, he admitted to being unaware of Molina’s and Houghton’s previous issues with impairment. Dr. Gallagher’s testimony raises questions about the effectiveness of supervision and the need for stricter oversight within healthcare organizations.

Substance Abuse Issues and Leave of Absence:

The deposition also delved into allegations of substance abuse against Dr. Gallagher. He revealed that he took a leave of absence in 2021 due to an anxiety attack, which he attributed to changes in his anxiety medication. During this time, he also experienced depressive episodes that led to substance abuse issues. The head administrator of his former employer ordered him to self-report an alcohol abuse problem, which ultimately led to his termination. Dr. Gallagher eventually submitted to an intensive outpatient rehabilitation program, highlighting the importance of addressing substance abuse concerns among healthcare professionals.

Conclusion:

The cases involving Dr. Michael Patrick Gallagher expose alarming issues within the medical profession, from medical negligence to allegations of substance abuse. The tragic outcomes and the potential harm caused to patients underscore the need for stricter supervision, thorough background checks, and ongoing monitoring of healthcare professionals. It is imperative that healthcare organizations prioritize patient safety and hold their employees accountable to maintain the trust and integrity of the medical profession.

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