A longtime Oklahoma City psychiatrist was fined $25,000 and placed on probation Thursday for allowing students to write prescriptions for potentially dangerous medications.
Dr. Haisam Al-Khouri was disciplined during the Oklahoma Medical Board's monthly meeting in Oklahoma City, along with one of his former subordinates.
In addition to the five-digit fine, Al-Khouri was placed on 30 months' probation and will not be allowed to supervise students studying to become physician assistants.
According to board documents, Al-Khouri allowed students from the University of Oklahoma physician assistant program to write prescriptions for controlled medications in his absence, beginning in early 2010.
One of those students, Mebin Thomas, was fined $5,000 after he went to work for Al-Khouri and continued the practice of writing prescriptions on pre-signed pads.
Records also show that Thomas lied to investigators but later told the truth and offered his assistance.
Thomas was not placed on probation but was given a formal reprimand that will follow him throughout his career in medicine.
Work with students
Al-Khouri entered into an agreement with OU's physician assistant program in late 2009 to serve as a kind of mentor — called a “preceptor” — to students as they completed their degrees.
Board documents show that beginning in February 2010, at least four other students, not including Thomas, were given pre-signed prescription pads so they could essentially treat patients while Al-Khouri was not in the office.
Records show that Al-Khouri was working at three clinics in 2010. Two of them were in Oklahoma City and the other was in Ada.
The investigation concluded the students were writing prescriptions for controlled substances that can be potentially dangerous to patients, including Xanax and Adderall.
One of those students, identified in board documents as Phil Burke, reported back to his college instructors that Al-Khouri had been leaving pre-signed prescriptions with the students. Burke even had some of the prescriptions in his pocket when he spoke to his instructors, records show.
Other students told board investigators they felt uncomfortable when told they had to write prescriptions to patients without supervision.
One student, identified as Amber Haynes, told Al-Khouri how she felt, but received a stern response.
“With respect to prescriptions for Xanax, she began to withhold these prescriptions until she got (Al-Khouri's) final approval to issue them,” a complaint filed against the doctor states.
“At that point, (Al-Khouri) told her that this practice ... ‘would affect her grade,' so she did as he instructed and issued the prescriptions.”
Burke did a rotation in Al-Khouri's clinic in August 2010. The next month, board documents show, investigators received “information that (Al-Khouri) was leaving blank pre-signed prescriptions for use by his unlicensed staff, his nurses, as well as by the PA students in his absence.”
Daniel McNeill, director of OU's physician assistant program, said the university stopped using Al-Khouri as a preceptor “sometime in 2010 or 2011.”
McNeill declined to comment further on the matter, citing a desire to protect the privacy of students.