84-Year-Old Doctor Loses Medical License After Refusing To Use Computers

“Even if I knew how to use [the electronic system] I would be unwilling."

By Eric Shorey

After having her record-keeping challenged by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, Anna Konopka, 84, surrendered her medical license. Konopka had refused to comply with new requirements on maintenance of files and was also challenged on her prescribing practices and medical decision-making.

According to The Washington Post, Konopka does not use a computer or even a typewriter, and she chose to see anyone who could pay $50 in cash. Her practice was comprised of about 25 patients a week. 

Court documents show that Konopka had prescribed medicine to some of her patients, but sometimes left the dosage up to them. In one case, she told parents to decide on the amount of inhaled steroids to give to their child. Konopka maintained that the parents did not listen to her instructions.

Although state laws prevent discussion or disclosure of information on medical investigations, Konopka has received additional complaints after surrendering her license. Konopka's failure to keep up with technology put her in violation of the state's laws about medical record-keeping, which were created to track opioid prescriptions.

“The [electronic] system right now, with this opioid war, they have no common sense with what they're doing. Bureaucrats who don't know medicine — they are getting this kind of idea that they can handle this type of pain without narcotics,” she said. “I prescribe a small amount of OxyContin and they are doing beautifully... They can work, and many of them could not work for many years. They are partially employed or fully employed and have a normal daily life."

Complaints about Konopka, an immigrant from Poland, began in 2014.

"I have enough experience and can treat any disease,” said Konopka in a discussion of a patient who she refused to refer to a specialist. “Even if I knew how to use [the electronic system] I would be unwilling. I cannot compromise the patient's health or life for a system. I refuse to."

Konopka is attempting to regain her  license, "which she agreed to voluntarily surrender in September after she was told it was the best option for her patients," according to The Washington Post.

“It is clear to the court that Dr. Konopka has spent her career helping people in her medical practice and has a genuine commitment to address the needs of those not able to afford medical care elsewhere,” wrote Merrimack Superior Court Judge John Kissinger in the dismissal of her case to regain the license. “Her motivation to seek an injunction allowing her to continue to practice comes from a sincere desire to help her patients.”

However, allowing Konopka to continue her medical practice would “ignore the process established by the legislature to regulate the practice of medicine in this State," he said.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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