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Medical board reprimands physician

The state Board of Medicine reprimanded a Keene physician for allegedly providing substandard care to a 75-year-old man who suffered kidney failure after developing sepsis, a potentially life-threatening infection.

According to a settlement agreement reached with the state Board of Medicine dated Oct. 5, Dr. Gerard N. Kiernan did not admit or deny the allegations but reached the settlement to avoid the delay and expense of further proceedings and to promote the best interests of the public and the practice of medicine. He was fined $2,000 and must take 25 hours of continuing education classes in infectious diseases or critical medical care.

A call to Dr. Kiernan for comment Thursday was not immediately returned.

The board contended that before discharging the patient, Dr. Kiernan did not re-check the man's oxygen level, his blood gases to assess acidosis (to see if too much acid was being produced, which can lead to renal failure) or order a follow-up complete blood count.

The state said Kiernan's actions, if proved, constituted substandard care and professional misconduct.

Dr. Donald Caruso, medical director at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene issued this statement Thursday:

&#';Dr. Kiernan is an excellent physician, board-certified and re-certified in family practice, and has been a valued member of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene/Cheshire Medical Center staff since 2002. He cares deeply about patient care and safety. Dr. Kiernan has fully cooperated with the Board of Medicine and will continue his strong commitment to continuing education, including compliance with all of the board's educational requirements.&#';

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