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Duggal's future as a doctor will be decided by end of month
POULSBO — Dr. Narinder Duggal’s future as a doctor will be decided by the state Medical Quality Assurance Commission at the end of this month.
The state alleges Duggal “committed sexual misconduct” with two patients, overprescribed controlled substances to several other patients, and neglected to provide basic primary care to a patient subsequently diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer.
The commission suspended Duggal's license in April. The commission will make a final determination after the hearing — similar to a trial — Jan. 27-31 at the state Department of Health, 310 Israel Road SE, hearing room 139, Tumwater. The hearing is open to the public.
Duggal’s Liberty Bay Internal Medicine, at Highway 305 and Bond Road, is closed. A message was left for him Jan. 15 on a phone number listed at his Poulsbo home address.
The Department of Health and the attorney general’s office investigated allegations dating to 2010 and filed a Statement of Charges against Duggal on Nov. 28, 2012. Duggal formally denied the charges Feb. 1, 2013. The commission suspended his license two months later.
A Statement of Charges means the state Department of Health believes there is enough evidence to warrant a hearing. When a complaint regarding a healthcare provider is received, it is reviewed to decide if the incident is a violation of the law, if the public needs protection, and if the Health Department has legal authority to take action, according to the department’s website. If the department determines the allegation might be a violation, and there is legal authority to take action, then it conducts an investigation.
In addition, three former patients are suing Duggal in Kitsap County Superior Court.
According to his website, Duggal earned a bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences and served a clinical pharmacy residency. He earned his medical degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He was certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1997 and licensed to practice in Washington in 1998. Duggal’s practice specialized in pain management and outpatient drug rehabilitation, and Liberty Bay Internal Medicine was the first opiate rehabilitation program in the state.
Larry Berg, staff attorney with the medical commission, said in an earlier story that his office had received approximately 19 letters supporting Duggal, which were entered into his file and may be introduced as evidence.
In an earlier interview, Janna Hedrick of Lakewood said she had been seeing Duggal for about seven months before his practice closed. She was referred to his office by one of his medical assistants and was told Duggal was a good doctor for pain management. She said she never had any problem with Duggal; he would ask her questions, like how she was feeling, and if she felt anything had changed since their last visit.
“I hope he beats the charges against him,” she said. “It’s hard finding a decent doctor out there.”