State regulators have suspended the medical license of a Fargo plastic surgeon, saying his blood-alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit on a day he performed two operations.
William Yvorchuk's blood-alcohol level the afternoon of March 5 was measured at 0.35, the medical board said. Yvorchuk had performed two operations earlier that day and had been stopped from performing a third. In North Dakota, a person is considered legally drunk with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08.
"Dr. Yvorchuk's conduct creates a significant risk of serious and ongoing harm to the public," said Duane Houdek, the board's executive secretary.
Yvorchuk, 52, who has been licensed in North Dakota since 2004, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. He has a hearing scheduled before the board on April 9, and could face further sanctions, including the loss of his license.
Houdek said the medical board had no indication any of Yvorchuk's patients had been harmed, but said the board was still looking into whether Yvorchuk was drunk during the two operations.
The amount of time between the surgeries and the time Yvorchuk's blood alcohol level was measured was "a matter of hours," Houdek said.
Yvorchuk contracted for a suite in the PSI Surgical Center in Fargo, Houdek said. Manager Peg Gilbertson said Yvorchuk closed his practice on March 11.
An e-mail statement from Dr. Jon Norberg, the medical director of the PSI Surgical Center, said Yvorchuck came into the operating room after lunch on March 5.
"He was noted to be impaired and was immediately removed from the premises. He was sent to be evaluated and his privileges were immediately suspended," Norberg's statement said. "We reported it to the State Board of Medical Examiners which led to the suspension of his license."
Dr. Ahmed Abdullah, a plastic surgeon at the center, said in an e-mail that Yvorchuck rented space in the building but had his own practice and was not on the institute staff. Abdullah's statement said he was saddened by Yvorchuck's situation and would not comment further out of respect for his privacy.
The Board of Medical Examiners also restricted the license of a Grand Forks psychiatrist. Thomas M. Peterson, 48, improperly prescribed anti-psychotic medication to two children under the age of 12, the medical board said. Houdek said there is no indication either of the children was harmed.
The board barred Peterson from prescribing such medicine to patients who are younger than 18 until he successfully completes a course in the subject and applies for reinstatement. His license will remain on probation for three years. He has been licensed in North Dakota since 1991.
Peterson's attorney, Lance Schreiner, said Peterson cooperated with the medical board. He said Peterson completed a course at Harvard over the weekend and on Tuesday petitioned the board for reinstatement of an unrestricted license.