LR Doctor Accused of Fueling Woman's Fatal Overdose

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

A Little Rock family practice doctor whose license was suspended in June for overprescribing controlled substances now is facing a lawsuit over the death of one of his patients.

Patricia Powell-Torres blames Dr. John Wolverton for the death of her 31-year-old daughter, Nicole Adams, in January 2012, according to the lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

“Her cause of death on the autopsy was felt to be mixed drug intoxication, although it was noted in the autopsy that her Oxycodone level alone was enough to cause her death,” the lawsuit said.

Adams began seeing Wolverton in December 2011 and complained of back pain, the lawsuit said. But he never examined her or performed any tests that would justify the “staggeringly large amount” of pain meds that were prescribed, including hydrocodone and oxycodone, the lawsuit said.

The grieving mother charged that the prescriptions of “these large amounts of medication fell well below the expected standard of care and is negligence” that caused Adams’ death.

Wolverton closed his practice at Caruthers & Wolverton PLLC and couldn’t be reached for comment.

In June, the Arkansas State Medical Board found that Wolverton “overprescribed an excessive amount of controlled substances for his patients.” As a result, the board yanked his license for five years, but that suspension would be stayed if he surrendered his permit to write controlled substances, agree to attend medical education courses and pay the board $13,600 for the hearing and a fine.

Wolverton, who received his Arkansas license in 1983, said in a letter to the board on Jan. 18 that he stopped seeing patients in October.



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