Garcia lied about Creighton firing when applying for Illinois medical license - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 7:18 am
Garcia lied about Creighton firing when applying for Illinois medical license

Read documents related to Anthony J. Garcia's medical license in Illinois.

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Anthony J. Garcia, who is accused of four Omaha slayings, was granted a medical license in Illinois in 2003 after he lied on his application, according to documents released by the state Wednesday night.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois licensing department said Wednesday that there was no way for the state to know that Garcia had been fired from a residency program. He did not disclose it on his application and his previous employers didn't report him to national databases that track doctors that have been disciplined, said Susan Hofer, spokeswoman for the state's licensing department.

Garcia also lied on medical license applications to at least three other states, none of which granted him a license.

Garcia's Illinois medical license was temporarily suspended last week in light of four first-degree murder charges against Garcia.

He is accused of the 2008 killings of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and his family's housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman. Police say he also committed the May slayings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary.

Thomas Hunter's father, Dr. William Hunter, and Dr. Brumback were involved in the 2001 firing of Garcia from Creighton University's pathology department.

Omaha police say Garcia committed the four slayings because he blamed Brumback and Hunter for his professional failures.

Illinois appears to be the only state that granted Garcia a full medical license, and he used it to work at two clinics in Chicago from 2009 to 2012.

Nebraska gave Garcia a temporary medical license when he was a resident at Creighton, but he never applied for a full license here.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation moved to suspend Garcia's license on July 19, four days after he was arrested in southern Illinois.

Garcia “has shown a pattern of conduct throughout his residency programs indicating an inability to practice medicine with requisite skill, judgment and safety,” Chief of Medical Prosecutions Laura Forester wrote in a court document.

Hofer in a phone interview said employees appeared to follow the proper procedures when they approved Garcia's application.

“It doesn't appear our department overlooked anything,” she said. “When we saw the news reports, there were things in there we never knew about because Garcia and his employers didn't report them.”

No one had reported Garcia to either of two national databases that track doctors who have been disciplined, Hofer said. The employer would need to report such disciplinary action to a state medical board.

Hofer said neither Creighton nor the University of Illinois had reported Garcia, even though he was fired from one program and left the other early.

“There was nothing on the face of the application that would have raised questions,” Hofer said.

A spokeswoman for Creighton said the university follows industry standards on what it reports to state medical boards but declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation.

The University of Illinois Chicago could not be reached for comment.

Illinois currently has 47,498 professional medical licenses and 6,181 temporary licenses on file, Hofer said.

The state investigates doctors when there is a complaint, when the doctor has been charged with a crime or when the doctor has been reported to the national databases, Hofer said. Illinois regularly compares its list of physicians with those two databases, she said.

“There are a lot of things that a doctor is required to self-report,” Hofer said. “What do you do if someone, like Garcia, is just not telling the truth? How do you ask the question you do not know needs to be asked?”

Illinois first granted Garcia a temporary medical license when he was a resident at the University of Illinois Chicago pathology program in 2001. The state gave him a full medical license in 2003 and renewed it at least three times even as he left two residency programs and other states denied him a license.

Illinois also gave him a separate license in 2006 to prescribe controlled substances.

A document filed against Garcia says he lied or omitted relevant information at several points:

» In 2001, on the application for the temporary license while a resident in Chicago, Garcia omitted his time at the Bassett-­St. Elizabeth Medical Center residency program in Utica, N.Y. He was facing disciplinary action when he left.

But on his Illinois application, Garcia wrote that he'd worked for himself and studied for a test during that year.

He also wrote that he'd worked at Creighton for a year and completed his training. Garcia listed Hunter as his direct supervisor at Creighton.

» In 2003, in his application for a full license in Illinois, he said he'd completed his training at Creighton and the University of Illinois Chicago, though he hadn't completed either program. He also wrote that he had no medical troubles that would prevent him from doing his job.

Soon after, he left the University of Illinois Chicago residency program with a year to go because of health problems.

That same year, Hunter signed a statement that said Garcia had completed 12 months of postgraduate training. But the document released by Illinois did not include any letter from Creighton indicating why Garcia left the program, nor any indication that the state had asked why he left.

» Two years later, when Garcia applied for a license renewal, he didn't mention that he'd left the University of Illinois Chicago without completing his residency.

» On a 2008 renewal application, he did not disclose the fact that he'd been denied a medical license in Louisiana or that he'd been fired from a residency program there because of it.

» Finally, on a 2011 renewal application, he didn't disclose that he'd been denied a medical license in Indiana.

A hearing is scheduled July 31 in Chicago about the medical suspension. He can request to delay the hearing or his attorney can appear on his behalf.

Garcia is now being held in the Douglas County Jail without bail.


The Illinois documents


Contact the writer: Roseann Moring

roseann.moring@owh.com    |   402-444-1084    |  

Roseann covers Bellevue and Sarpy County crime.

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