Local doctor’s license suspended (w/ documents) — (The Shelby Star)

SSRI Ed note: Physician takes Lexapro for depression, anxiety, has a drink, chokes wife, drives impaired, speeds to evade arrest, crashes car.


Original article no longer available

The Shelby Star

Monday, Apr 14 2008, 6:44 pm

Graham Cawthon

SHELBY – Dr. Kevin O’Dell’s medical license has been indefinitely suspended by the state medical board, almost a year after the local doctor was arrested and voluntarily surrendered his medical license.

The ruling stemmed from an incident last June in which police allege O’Dell, of Cherryville, strangled his wife and led police on a chase before wrecking his car.

The suspension was part of a consent order from the N.C. Medical Board. The order made no mention of O’Dell’s wife.

O’Dell contends the behavior was because of a reaction between alcohol and Lexapro, which he was prescribed to treat anxiety and depression.

O’Dell could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The Star previously reported that O’Dell voluntarily surrendered his medical license a month after his June 28, 2007 arrest. O’Dell was charged with fleeing/eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, reckless driving, driving while impaired, felony assault by strangulation, damage to property and speeding.

The medical board documents, signed by State Medical Board President Janelle Rhyne and dated April 11, state O’Dell’s charges are still pending, he battled depression for months prior to his arrest and he was assessed by the North Carolina Physicians Health Program following his arrest.

O’Dell has since completed treatment at a facility that regularly treats health-care professionals with mental health issues.

“Whereas Dr. O’Dell would like to resolve this matter without the need for more formal proceedings …,” the consent order read, “Dr. O’Dell’s license is hereby indefinitely suspended.”

The report reads that O’Dell drinking alcohol while taking Lexapro, a treatment for depression, on the night he was arrested “constitutes his being unable to safely practice by reason of mental illness within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-14 (a) (5), and grounds exist … for the Board to discipline his license.”