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Dr. John Barr's license suspended

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
CLEVELAND — A Cleveland doctor’s medical license was suspended Monday by the North Carolina Medical Board following an investigation into “concerns” from the board, local law enforcement and other area physicians.
Dr. John Findley Barr was suspended after the board found Barr had “engaged in excessive prescribing of controlled substances, namely OxyContin and Roxicodone,” the report said.

The report is available to read by clicking here.
Barr, a licensed physician for 29 years, operated out of a Cleveland practice on Statesville Boulevard.
According to the report, the board began having “concerns” about Barr’s patient care in 2006.
In 2011 and early 2012, the report said, the board was told by a “variety of sources that Dr. Barr was prescribing controlled substances to individuals who may have been drug seeking, diverting the medications, or who may have died unexpectedly from opioid toxicity.”
Ten patient charts from Barr were then taken by the board for review.
Six were sent to an external reviewer.
They were found to be below the standard of care “in all areas, including diagnosis, treatment, record-keeping and overall care of the patient,” the report said.
The board said Rowan County law enforcement notified officials on multiple incidents.
Once when a patient under Barr’s care unexpectedly died, the report said, and another when authorities suspected a patient “may have been exchanging Xanax, or alprazolam, and amphetamines to young women in exchange for sexual favors.”
In one of the patient charts, Barr prescribed benzodiazepine, a pyschoactive drug; multiple narcotic pain medications and testosterone to the patient.
On April 28, 2011, the report said, Barr gave the 42-year-old man separate prescriptions for oxycodone, 30 mg., 300 tablets, and OxyContin, 60 mg., 90 tablets. Both are pain relievers.
Eight days later, Barr prescribed another 300 tablets of Oxycodone, 30 mg.
On May 13, he was given OxyContin, 40 mg., 45 tablets. And another 60 mg., 90 tablets, of OxyContin on May 24.
Two days later he was given another prescription for 300 tablets of oxycodone, 30 mg.
He received his last prescription on July 12 shortly before dying unexpectedly.
The cause of death was listed as oxycodone toxicity.
In another 2011 death, a 34-year-old woman died from an apparent heart attack while receiving prescriptions from Barr.
The report said Barr continued to prescribe Soma, or carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant, despite the patient showing “a dangerously high level of carisoprodol which went unaddressed by Dr. Barr.”
The report said Barr listed the woman’s death as a heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction, without having an autopsy.
Barr was the supervising physician for Christopher Caggiano, a former physician assistant in Kannapolis.
Caggiano pleaded guilty in October 2008 to four counts of health care fraud.
In 2006, the board claimed Caggiano excessively ordered tests and other procedures without medical indication.
He was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay back restitution fees of just under $376,000. He was released in January 2011.
The Board did not indicate when Barr will be eligible for reinstatement.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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