News Release October 21, 2011
MEDICAL BOARD OF CALIFORNIA
October 21, 2011
Medical Board of California revokes license
of former Yuba City physician
SACRAMENTO The medical license of Ifeanyi Charles Igwegbe was revoked by the Medical Board of California following a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge of the Office of Administrative Hearings. "The mission of the Medical Board is public protection, and this action reflects the Board's ongoing commitment to that mission," said Linda Whitney, executive director of the Medical Board.
Shortly before 8:20 a.m., on May 25, 2010, while on his way to Fremont-Rideout Memorial Hospital where he was scheduled to perform medical procedures, Igwegbe was involved in a two-car collision, injuring the other motorist. After police officers arrived, Igwegbe was arrested and charged with two felony counts of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Nearly two hours after the accident, Igwegbe’s blood-alcohol level was .13%. He denied drinking alcohol that morning and claimed he had consumed one or two glasses of wine the night before.
On July 16, 2010, the Medical Board filed for an Interim Order of Suspension of Igwegbe’s medical license. The Administrative law Judge found “the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from all the evidence is that respondent was intoxicated on May 25, 2010, when he was involved in the motor vehicle accident. He would have been intoxicated at the time of any medical procedure performed at 9:00 a.m. that same morning.” The Interim Order was granted in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. The Order provided Igwegbe with the very narrow opportunity to continue practicing medicine with conditions including daily breathalyzer testing, submission to random urine testing, and preclusion from serving in an on-call capacity. Effective July 21, 2011, the Interim Suspension Order was lifted.
The Medical Board filed an Accusation on August 2, 2010, alleging Igwegbe violated Business and Professions Code section 2239 (Use of Alcohol in a Dangerous and Injurious Manner), when he tested positive for alcohol after causing an accident and injuring another motorist on May 25, 2010.
A full hearing on the Accusation was held July 18-19, 2011, with arguments from both sides. Witnesses testified they were driving northbound, directly behind Igwegbe’s Honda on the morning of May 25, 2010, when they saw him swerving in and out of the center median on State Route 99 at least four times during a period of four minutes. Additional witnesses testified they saw Igwegbe’s vehicle accelerate across the median and collide with a vehicle traveling southbound before disappearing into an irrigation canal. Witnesses who had stopped to render assistance testified they had smelled alcohol on Igwegbe’s breath and body. Igwegbe testified on his own behalf. He denied being intoxicated when he caused the collision on May 25, 2010. Igwegbe also denied having any problem with alcohol and consequently had not sought such treatment. His attorney argued that Igwegbe had been “punished enough,” and he had been unable to find work for over a year and a half. The Medical Board argued that Igwegbe’s behavior on May 25, 2010, showed he posed a serious risk to the public and his patients. It was important that he demonstrate rehabilitation to the extent he can practice without the restrictions imposed on him, and Igwegbe had failed to show any rehabilitation efforts.
The judge found it was established by clear and convincing evidence that on May 25, 2010, Igwegbe used alcoholic beverages to the extent and in such a manner as to be dangerous to himself and to the public. Finding Igwegbe used alcoholic beverages to the extent as to impair his ability to practice medicine safely; Igwegbe’s medical license was ordered revoked, effective October 21, 2011.
The public record documents in this case can be accessed on our Web site at www.mbc.ca.gov under the heading “Enforcement Public Documents.”
The mission of the Medical Board is to protect health care consumers through the proper licensing and regulation of physicians and surgeons and certain allied health care professions and through the vigorous, objective enforcement of the Medical Practice Act, and, to promote access to quality medical care through the Board's licensing and regulatory functions.
If you have a question or complaint about the health care you are receiving, the Board encourages you to visit its Web site at www.mbc.ca.gov or call the Consumer Information Line at (916) 263-2382 or (800) 633-2322.
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