The medical licenses of Drs. David Leslie Merrifield Jr., Dan Nicolau and Michael Sanders Wysor have all been placed on probation. Following is the Tennessee Department of Health’s disciplinary actions outline stipulations of fact and orders in each case:
— David Leslie Merrifield Jr., Jonesborough. Merrifield’s medical license was placed on probation for a period of no less than five years after a litany of ethical and legal violations, including DUI and overprescribing patients without proper procedure or documentation, according to the report. He also maintained a sexual relationship with a patient. The stipulations of fact:
- On Sept. 23, 2014, Merrifield was convicted of driving under the influence and failed to notify the Board of Examiners of his conviction.
- While serving as a supervising physician for nurse practitioner William Clever, he received treatment from Clever and signed off on his own medical record.
- Merrifield wrote 14 prescriptions without formulating a therapeutic plan, conducting a physical examination and/or creating and maintaining a medical record. Prescriptions included diazepam, clonazepam and Adderall.
- Merrifield also wrote 35 consecutive prescriptions of Suboxone to a patient without creating a medical record for these prescriptions, conducting a proper drug screening of the patient or creating a treatment plan.
- Merrifield wrote five prescriptions to another patient in the same manner. The prescriptions included Subutex and clonazepam.
- From December 2014 to March 2015, Merrifield again wrote 10 prescriptions for Subutex to another patient without requiring the patient to submit to a drug screen. While maintaining a relationship with this patient, Merrifield hired the patient and gave the person an allowance, credit card and a 2015 Jeep Compass, and engaged in a sexual relationship with the patient.
- Merrifield wrote 60 prescriptions, including 30 for Subutex, to a patient and did not require the patient to submit to a drug screen.
- Merrifield met patients on numerous occasions outside a clinic setting to prescribe Suboxone. Having met at patients’ homes, McDonald’s and Burger King, Merrifield admitted he did not have access to patient charts and urine drug screen results when writing these prescriptions.
In addition to his license probation, Merrifield will pay civil penalties of $2,500 and other fees up to $12,000.
— Dan Nicolau, Johnson City. After entering into a romantic relationship with an acquaintance to whom he prescribed drugs and later stalked, Nicolau’s medical license was placed on probation for two years. The stipulations of fact:
- On September 2015, Nicolau wrote one prescription for Percocet for an acquaintance referred to in the document as “C.B.” Later in November, Nicolau wrote “C.B.” one prescription for oxycodone. Nicolau’s relationship with “C.B.” was not pursuant to a doctor-patient relationship.
- On or around June 2016, Nicolau and “C.B.” entered into a romantic relationship that ended in August.
- On or about Aug. 27, 2016, “C.B” received text messages from another user’s Facebook account after blocking Nicolau from contacting her on Facebook. Later that evening, Nicolau showed up in her bedroom and woke her up after finding a spare key under the mat of the front door.
- After entering her home, Nicolau grabbed her and attempted to hug and kiss her. “C.B.” then screamed for him to leave, called 911 and ran outside her home to meet Johnson City police officers who responded to the call. As “C.B” spoke to officers, Nicolau used his cell phone to call and text her as she spoke with them.
- On Aug. 23, Nicolau appeared in Washington County Criminal Court and was placed on probation for 11 months and 29 days for one count of aggravated criminal trespassing and one count of stalking.
Nicolau was ordered by the court to pay costs, complete a treatment plan established by the TBME and have no contact with “C.B.” After a multidisciplinary assessment, it was recommended Nicolau refrain from consuming alcohol for one year, participate in a Tennessee Medical Foundation boundary course for six months, participate in a continuing medical education prescription boundaries course within six months, utilize a chaperon when seeing females in addiction treatment and engage in weekly therapy. Nicolau has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $2,000 and other fees up to $3,000.
— Michael Sanders Wysor, Gray. Wysor was placed on medical probation for a period of at least five years. The stipulations of fact state he tried to force a kiss on a patient on Feb. 4, 2016, during an office visit.
During probation, Wysor is not to serve as a supervising or substitute physician. He is to maintain good and lawful conduct, and any violation of law that relates to the practice of medicine or ability to safely and competently practice medicine will be a violation of Wysor’s probation. At the expiration of the probationary period, Wysor will be eligible to petition the TBME for an “Order of Compliance” lifting the restrictions imposed by the TDH. As part of this order, he is to appear personally before the TBME unless waived by the board’s medical consultant.
Wysor will be required to pay one $500 civil penalty, and another fine of up to $12,000 to “cover the reasonable costs” of prosecuting the case. He must complete one year of a course on maintaining proper boundaries.