Dr. Brown thanks patients and staff
I appreciate what so many have tried to do for me during the most grueling and heartbreaking period in my life. However, God has blessed me richly with a wonderful and supportive family and staff. I have received over 300 emails, cards, and letters of support mostly from patients. Many of your letters were addressed to the Texas Medical Board, so that they might know something about the one whose career has been damaged.
Because the original hearing after my suspension on July 12 was not scheduled promptly, as required by law, I was forced to close my office at the end of August. I was unable to continue paying the practice overhead without generating any revenue, especially not knowing when I might get a chance to respond to the erroneous claims that were made against me. We closed the doors on August 31; the hearing was finally set for September 18.
Consulting with an attorney, we decided not to go to the expense of a hearing to lift the suspension, since I had no practice to which I might return. The costs could not be justified; more publicity would be generated. I had another hearing scheduled for October 29 to determine the conditions under which I might have my license reinstated. The legal expense in getting my license back, my practice now destroyed, could not be justified if the value of the license would be for me only to continue doing charity care once in a while.
I have come to terms with the realities and injustices, now having a peace that comes from God and from your reminders of knowing who I really am. This 32 year practice of OBGYN in East Texas has been so rewarding. Maybe even more important than the 7,000 babies I have delivered in my career, I have come to know so many of my patients and staff as friends. No board or agency can ever rob me of that! There has never been a day in my career that I resented going to work, largely because of you, the patients and a wonderful staff to help me. But, as God is sovereign, it is time to embark on the next phase of my life.
I have enrolled in a graduate education program to become a certified Christian marriage and sexual counselor. The coursework is fairly expensive and takes about 18 months; I have completed one of five modules which included three days in Atlanta, reading several books, writing a paper, and completing my final exam about 12 days ago. I do not know if God is calling me to this or not (but I did get an A in the course!!!). I have a passion for teaching, so rather than counseling, I might use this knowledge to provide churches with workshops on marriage and sexuality.
I have also been invited to join a team of clergy and Christian laity called Colinasway, helping churches to be more effective in their ministries. Having done some preliminary preparations, I might join this effort after the first of the year. Since teaching interests me, an opportunity at TJC or UT Tyler to teach basic anatomy and physiology is a possibility. An enlarging nursing program and now the establishment of a pharmacy school might afford me opportunities there.
My daughter, Allison, the mother of my precious seven month old grandson, always reminds me that God has a plan for me. I live day to day with that refrain in my heart!
The "order" by the TMB, negotiated with the help of my lawyer, will become public any day now. Ms. Janis Wier, who limits her practice of law to medical board issues, has never seen such an outpouring of support for a defendant physician in her nearly 30 years of practice. All of your letters were sent to the board for review. She feels like the board's "order" is more relaxed and even merciful as compared to the usual pattern of the Texas Medical Board. I have YOU to thank for that!
I will voluntarily have my license "revoked" and am invited to reapply in one year. Some of the issues that were unjustly and incorrectly stated in the suspension have been corrected in this order. Our reply to the record of the suspension hearing, which occurred without my knowledge and without an opportunity to defend myself, was to point out where Dr. Nemeth, essentially the prosecutor, answered many board representative questions inaccurately. I cannot help but conclude that those lies were largely responsible for what has happened to me and that the TMB actually has displayed unparalleled remorse (as much as they will allow themselves!).
The order does claim that I "tested positive for alcohol" on several occasions; this is absolutely not true. I never had a positive alcohol test. The test that is utilized confirms consumption of alcohol ( in my case, wine with dinner) sometime in the 80 hours prior to testing.
I do regret that my physician colleagues at the hospitals are no longer part of my daily life; I miss those relationships. I am baffled that the physicians and staff of Tyler Obstetrics and Gynecology, which I helped to found in 1996, do not respond to any of my communications and gestures of kindness and reconciliation. I am certain that they have been instructed to avoid any contact with me for reasons that are really unclear. As much as they carry some of the blame for what has ultimately been my fate, I have never had an opportunity to understand their reasons or to offer them forgiveness.
But, my greatest regret is loss of daily contact with patients and my staff. You, who have become my friends, have been so kind and supportive. During this holiday season, I have had the opportunity to see you at stores and restaurants, where you have offered your love in kind words and hugs. You have made this so much more bearable, and I thank you.
As I offer my sincere appreciation for you, I also want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and hopes for a kinder and gentler 2014!
William E. Brown, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.