The allegations are shocking: a Virginia Beach doctor is accused of contributing to the death of at least five of his patients.  What is worse is that it took the Virginia Board of Medicine nearly five years after one patient’s family complained to take any public action.  In August 2008, Dr. Stephen Plotnick’s license to practice medicine was finally suspended by the board.


Dr. Plotnick specialized in the very painful disease fibromyalgia, and was known to aggressively treat patients with powerful narcotics.  However, family members of some deceased patients contend that his approach was so aggressive that it could have contributed to some of his patients’ deaths.


Consider the details about the five patients who died while under Dr. Plotnick’s care:

·        Teresa Parker died from “acute combined oxymorphone and amphetamine poisoning.” A $5 million lawsuit was filed in January by Parker’s widower.

·        Harold McDuffie II died from an overdose of narcotics. McDuffie’s widow filed a lawsuit, and Plotnick settled the case in June 2008 for an undisclosed amount.

·        Taryn Holland was found dead of an overdose of methadone and other drugs, including drugs prescribed by Plotnick on March 19 2008.

·        Patient M’s dosage of oxycodone was allegedly doubled by Dr. Plotnick, however she was given no proper instructions. She died two days later.

·        Patient O died of an overdose of drugs that included narcotics Plotnick had prescribed during her last visit on Feb. 11, records show.


The case against Dr. Plotnick begs the question: is the Virginia Board of Medicine adequately protecting patients from rogue or negligent doctors?  You can read more about the implications of this case in our library article, “How Effective is the Virginia Board of Medicine at Protecting Patients from Malpractice?”

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