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State board suspends Manchester doctor's license

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 25. 2012 9:28AM

MANCHESTER - A Manchester physician was suspended from the practice of medicine Friday after he was found passed out in the parking lot at Catholic Medical Center on a day he was scheduled to see patients, according to documents filed with a state licensing board.

CMC security found Dr. Joseph B. Savage, an internist who has practiced medicine in New Hampshire since 1981, asleep in his car on Sept. 13 and woke him. Savage proceeded to urinate in the parking lot, according to the order of emergency license suspension filed by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. He then went into his office.

The order suspends his medical license at least until a hearing scheduled for Oct. 3.

Savage was scheduled to see patients that afternoon but, based on his actions and appearance, CMC staff ordered a fitness for duty evaluation of him and canceled his patients for the day, preventing him from providing any care, according to board documents.

He was given a blood test which allegedly revealed a blood alcohol level of .186, more than twice the legal limit for driving while intoxicated.

Alex Walker, general counsel for the hospital, said CMC's first priority is patient care and safety. "Upon learning of this particular incident, we took immediate steps to ensure Dr. Savage would not see any patients that day or execute privileges at CMC prior to the outcome of the Board of Medicine process or our own credentialing process," he said.

Walker said Dr. Savage rents space for his private practice in the medical office building at CMC. Dr. Savage practices internal medicine, endocrinology and metabolism, and endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism.

According to the state board, Savage had past issues with alcohol and was in monitoring with the New Hampshire Professionals' Health Program for several years. In 2009, he consumed alcohol in violation of his monitoring contract but had maintained sobriety.

On the night of Sept. 12, Savage had several alcoholic beverages and the following morning drank some more before driving to work, according to board records.

Dr. Savage, 62, is a 1975 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine.

The board of medicine, in ordering a temporary emergency license suspension, found the case involved imminent danger to life and/or health.

A disciplinary hearing is set for Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. at the board's office at 2 Industrial Park Drive, Concord. The hearing is to determine if there is "imminent danger to life or health" or whether "the public health, safety or welfare requires" Savage's license to remain suspended pending an adjudicative proceeding.

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