JOHNSTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – Newly released court documents shed light on the arrest of a prominent surgeon in Northern Colorado over the weekend.
Dr. Kenneth Pettine is facing multiple counts of prescription fraud.
According to an arrest warrant issued for Pettine, investigators don’t believe the drugs were going to patients. Instead, evidence collected in the case suggest the fraudulent prescriptions were written so that he himself could get access to Ambien and other sleep medications.
The investigation into Pettine began months ago after coworkers in his Johnstown office began receiving complaints that he at times appeared to be “intoxicated” and “incoherent.”
In April authorities were notified by employees of Arete Surgical Center where Pettine performed a majority of his procedures that three of his spinal surgeries had been called into question for “being completed inappropriately.”
A report from the state medical board, which has since opened their own investigation, suggests Pettine was aware of mistakes made during those surgeries and tried to cover it up. They have temporarily pulled Pettine’s license during that investigation.
It’s unclear if Pettine was under the influence of prescription medication during those three surgeries.
Arete Surgical Center released this statement on Thursday: Arete Surgical Center has utmost concern for following the highest standards of patient care and safety. It is our understanding that the allegations involving Dr. Pettine’s alleged misuse of pharmaceuticals occurred at other entities in which Dr. Pettine is involved. There are no concerns involving those allegations with regard to Arête Surgical Center. Arête Surgical Center continues to review and investigate the pending allegations with regard to care rendered by Dr. Pettine at the Center. Our investigation is confidential and subject to certain legal privileges prohibiting us from making any public comment. We are aware of and fully cooperating with the DEA and law enforcement in their criminal investigation of Dr. Pettine. Due to the criminal nature of their investigation, we are legally obligated to allow those authorities to proceed as necessary and to not interfere with that investigation. As Arete Surgical Center continues with its own internal investigation, we will be communicating with patients who may have received care at the Center to directly discuss with them any questions they may have.
Karen Morfitt Joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around metro Denver. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.