Drug-Prescribing Doctor Who Couldn’t Recognize Dog X-ray Suspended

Monday, August 20, 2012
Human or canine?

Dr. Rolando Lodevico Atiga probably knew that “the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone.” But he apparently couldn’t tell the bones in an x-ray belonged to a dog, not a human, and it cost him his medical license for awhile.

The Southern California doctor was arrested near his Glendora clinic in July during a local police prescription-drug sting operation. Atiga was accused by police of prescribing addictive pain medications to patients who did not require them after he wrote prescriptions for three deputies working undercover.

One of the deputies gave the doctor two x-rays as evidence of a debilitating car accident which left her in a great deal of pain. According to a hidden recording listened to by the Los Angeles Times, one x-ray elicited an instant medical analysis: “That’s the hip joint right there,” the doctor said, not noticing that the x-ray was of a German shepard—its tail clearly present.     

Atiga was released immediately after his arrest and has an August 31 date with the Office of Administrative Hearings, a quasi-judicial court that hears administrative disputes.

But, last week, the Medical Board of California temporarily suspended his license. The interim suspension was unusually quick and is meant to be in place until more formal proceedings commence.

Atiga has had previous difficulties with the authorities. He was put on probation by the medical board in 1996 after accusations of overly-zealous pill prescribing. And he was once convicted of taking kickbacks for referring Medicare patients for home health services, according to the Los Angeles Times.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Doctor Who Prescribed Drugs Based on Dog X-ray Suspended (by Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times)

Dog X-Ray Used in Arrest of Doctor in Prescription Probe (by Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times)

Pinoy Doctor Accused of Illegally Selling Pain Killers in US (by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News)

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