About 10 patients of a New London doctor traveled to Concord Friday to observe her first appearance in court. Dr. Anna Konopka, who is 84, is challenging the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, saying she was forced to surrender her license and close her practice last month. The board argues instead that Konopka, aware of the allegations against her, chose to settle and surrender her license voluntarily.
The doctor admits she's failed to use an online tracking system required for physicians prescribing opioids, but has said it was a mistake. She does not use a computer in her office and said she didn’t understand the requirements. The board has not detailed the specifics of its allegations against Konopka, but cites her record keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision making.
Konopka said the quick timeline of the settlement agreement has put her patients at risk. Many of them are low income, suffer from complex medical conditions and take opioids for chronic pain.
“Some of them are so sick, if they are left for a few months without medical care, they can die,” she said.
In the courthouse Friday, her patients said it’s been hard to find doctors who will take them. Amanda Bulliner, who made the trip from Newport, said she’s called at least four local hospitals and clinics and they’ve all told her it will take six to eight weeks to review her case. She said she suffers from a chronic nerve condition and needs immediate care.
A judge in Merrimack County Superior Court said he will review the arguments on both sides.