Judge: Suspend Fargo surgeonAn administrative law judge has recommended a Fargo doctor’s medical license be suspended indefinitely for frequently giving a powerful sedative to a woman in his home.
BISMARCK (AP) — An administrative law judge has recommended a Fargo doctor’s medical license be suspended indefinitely for frequently giving a powerful sedative to a woman in his home.
Dr. Jon Norberg, an orthopedic surgeon, faces separate criminal charges of rape and reckless endangerment for having sex with the woman after he gave her propofol, an anesthetic. His trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 14. Norberg’s lawyer, John Goff, has said the charges are false.
Norberg gave the woman the drug more than 30 times over 18 months, Judge Allen Hoberg wrote in a proposed disciplinary order submitted to the state Board of Medical Examiners.
Norberg lacked the proper credentials to give the drug and did not have necessary monitoring equipment at his home to ensure it could be administered safely, the order says. He gave other medicines to the woman that would normally be dangerous when taken with propofol, it says.
Propofol, which is also marketed under the name Diprivan, has gained notoriety for its connection to the June 2009 death of singer Michael Jackson, who died of acute propofol intoxication. Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for providing Jackson with the sedative.
In a prepared filing, Norberg told the board he used the drug to relieve the woman’s pain and help her to sleep. During a hearing earlier this month, Dr. Craig Smith, an anesthesiologist at Medcenter One in Bismarck, said propofol does not relieve pain and is not approved for use as a sleep aid.
Hoberg’s proposed order says Norberg illegally administered a dangerous drug, acted unprofessionally and was grossly negligent. Along with suspending his license indefinitely, Hoberg recommended the board order Norberg to pay its investigation costs and attorneys’ fees. Duane Houdek, the board’s executive secretary, said Friday the amount had not been calculated.
Norberg is on voluntary leave from his job at Sanford Health in Fargo.
His attorney, Goff, did not respond to telephone and email messages Friday asking for comment on the proposed order.
The woman who said she was given propofol filed a complaint against Norberg in July. Norberg has acknowledged in a separate court case that he gave the drug to the woman at his Fargo home.