Oklahoma pharmacist accused of giving insulin instead of flu shots gets license suspended

TMW
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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – A pharmacist who allegedly gave nine people insulin instead of flu vaccine in a mix-up will have his license suspended indefinitely. 

Dr. James Sutterfield is accused of giving patients and staff at a Bartlesville medical center insulin instead of flu vaccine last November.

He appeared before the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy on Wednesday.

The board voted to indefinitely suspend his license with an immediate stay, and he is no longer allowed to give immunization shots or dispense medication. He also must attend law seminars and continuing education classes for the next two years and pay a $23,400 fine.

"This is the first infraction that he's come upon. Bad decisions and sometimes accidents do happen,” Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Marty Hendrick said. “We have to take into account all those things that revolve around it."

The order passed by a vote of 4-1. The one opposing vote came from Jason Willeford, the only non-pharmacist on the board.

Willeford questioned whether the punishment was sufficient because Sutterfield has never admitted to or denied the allegations.

“The respondent was honest and forthgoing in what had happened, and helped us in our investigation on this situation,” Hendrick said. “He also understood, too, the ramifications of this. The facts and details are all there in the complaint.”

In the complaint, it says not only did Sutterfield give nine people insulin instead of flu vaccine – sending all of them to the hospital – but after realizing what he had done, Sutterfield allegedly threw away some of the vaccine to try and cover up his mistake.

Hendrick says Sutterfield's alleged concealment went into the decision to no longer allow him to dispense medication.

Sutterfield says he plans to retire in April and start working with native tribes as a diabetic educator.

Sutterfield spoke briefly at the hearing, but afterward, his lawyer declined to comment.

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