NJ dentist accused of being on fentanyl while doing 16 surgeries
State officials have suspended the license of a doctor who was accused of wearing a fentanyl patch while she performed surgeries on 16 patients.
Pranathi Vanapalli Reddy had her license to practice suspended in November by Pennsylvania regulators. Officials in New Jersey followed suit in January.
Records from the State Board Dentistry say Reddy also was taking multiple barbiturates, which are sedatives.
The suspension document does not say whether any of her patients were injured, but the State Board of Dentisrtry said that the allegations of her drug use “presently make her an immediate and clear danger to the public health or safety.”
Fentanyl is a highly addictive opioid that has been behind an increase in deaths of heroin and cocaine users. The drug has been described as 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin.
Fentanyl patches are sometime prescribed to help patients in serious pain who don't respond to less potent opioids, but the patches can be dangerous and habit forming as well.
The board's decision does not say whether Reddy had prescriptions for the drugs, nor does it identify her accusers.
Law enforcement officials have been campaigning to increase penalties for fentanyl dealers.
Reddy’s suspension prevents her from being in any dental office unless she is a patient.
To get her license back in this state, she’ll have to get her first get her license back in Pennsylvania, pass a substance abuse program and demonstrate sobriety — including abstaining from alcohol — for at least six months.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.