By Bob Weaver

The West Virginia Board of Medicine has stayed the suspension of the medical license of Grantsville physician Dr. Elias Khoury, having put him on probation in July, 2001 for two years, with numerous stipulations.

Dr. Khoury complained in a letter to the editor of The Calhoun Chronicle that media had given "misleading and incorrect statements concerning myself and my license to practice medicine at my office in Grantsville." The story was printed in The Hur Herald on September 5.

The medical board said Khoury's license is subject to be removed at any time if his practice fails to meet the standard of care, according to their documentation. He will not be permitted to perform surgery at any hospital or outpatient facility.

He may perform surgeries in his office "including but not limited to toenail removal, mole removals, breast biopsies, cyst removals, colonoscopy and EGD, noninvasive vasectomies and hemorrhoidectomies.

Dr. Khoury consented with medical board terms, waiving his right to a hearing, according to a consent order. He must subject his records to special review during the two year period, to insure his practice "shall not at anytime fall below reasonable skill and safety for patients."

The action came after a complaint from Roane General Hospital in Spencer, based upon his "quality of care, ability to work professionally with others, failure to comply with medical staff bylaws and possible exercise of poor professional judgment." Dr. Khoury relinquished his hospital privileges after the allegations. Dr. Khoury does not practice at Minnie Hamilton Heath Care.

In 1999 Roane General told the medical board that Dr. Khoury's application to be reappointed was denied, among other reasons his failure to "exercise clinical privileges within written parameters" set forth in a letter in 1996, a failure to "declare malpractice settlements" on at least two occasions, "a pattern of practicing medicine below the standard of care," and practicing medicine and surgery in 1998 without current proof of liability insurance.

Dr. Khoury went through a similar process in 1992, with actual suspension being averted by being placed on probation for two years. The board stated that after that date, if they received information that "Dr. Khoury has engaged in unprofessional conduct with any patient to whom Dr. Khoury renders care or treatment, or with any of his employees," his license would be removed. No new complaints were filed during the period and the probation was lifted in 1994.

The medical board's records indicate a $175,000 malpractice settlement in 1995 related to "Alleged failure to timely transfer or perform urgent surgery, resulting in the death of a 78-year-old male suffering from septic shock." Another suit indicates "alleged medical malpractice" which was settled for $40,000 in 1990, after a disputed claim.

The estate of Loretta Newell, 42, brought suit against Dr. Khoury after "alleged failure to admit patient with cardiac condition" to Calhoun General, after the woman died in 1990. A settlement was given as $419,400 paid on a malpractice claim in 1992. Another malpractice claim was also granted an injured party, according to the West Virginia State Medical Board.

Dr. Khoury said in his letter "The fact is, all my patients in the past 10 years were treated with competence and compassion and had good outcomes." He said all or most of his patients are willing to witness to what he is saying.

He said he was upset that some American journalists have the bad habit of throwing stones at good people before they get the details of the situation.

Dr. Khoury's letter to the editor outlined his credentials and said "My patients still continue to have confidence in my skill despite the criticism, and our practice continues to grow bigger and stronger - thanks to my patients and God."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Hur Herald did not throw stones at Dr. Khoury, but reported the news from official documents, as it relates to actions by the State Board of Medicine. We stand by our reporting.

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