Waterville physician Paul Gosselin will learn on Friday whether his medical license will remain under suspension or be lifted temporarily, following allegations that he was impaired by drugs while practicing medicine.

A judge heard arguments from Gosselin’s attorney, Eric Mehnert, on Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

Mehnert said the state Board of Osteopathic Licensure violated Gosselin’s due process rights when it initiated a complaint against him, prosecuted it and found that he had violated rules of professional conduct, then gave him seven days’ notice that it was suspending his license to practice medicine.

The board suspended his license for 450 days effective July 17, giving him one week to transfer his 1,400 patients, most of them receiving treatment for chronic pain.

Mehnert asked the judge to lift the osteopathic license suspension until Gosselin gets a full court hearing in the appeal, or alternatively, to grant a three-week stay of the suspension to give Gosselin time to find new treatment providers for his patients.

Justice Robert Mullen said he intended to rule on the suspension portion on Friday, if not earlier.

The state licensure board, through Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Bolton, asked Mullen to uphold the suspension.

“We’re talking about practicing medicine while impaired by drugs. Everybody knows you’re not supposed to do that,” Bolton said.

In its suspension order, the board found that Gosselin, among other things, practiced medicine after ingesting drugs and had prescribed medicines for himself in “circumstances that did not warrant self-treatment.”

Gosselin arrived late to Wednesday’s hearing, wearing a red T-shirt and camouflage pants. He said after the session that he was doing work on a house when he learned that the court hearing was scheduled.

Patients of Gosselin interviewed in Waterville this week by the Morning Sentinel had widely varying views about their treatment.

Sue Cottle, 74, of Augusta, said Gosselin is her doctor and has treated four generations of her family, including her father, now deceased.

“He was so good about coming to the house for my dad when he couldn’t get to him,” Cottle said. “My daughter passed away a couple of years ago and had issues including (being) bi-polar. Now her daughter is seeing Paul for anxiety issues and has not been able to get her medicines. She was calling me and freaking out. Somebody at Inland Hospital is finally helping her.”

Cottle said she needs two knee replacements and will have one soon. Gosselin prescribed pain medicine for her.

“I ran out of that, and they wouldn’t fill my prescription,” she said.

Cottle praised Gosselin for his treatment.

“I’d put my life in his hands,” she said. “He’s been keeping me going for over a year. I had a stroke, and he worked with me through all that. I had pneumonia. He checked on me all the time. You don’t often get a doctor who will check on you.”

But an Augusta woman who said she was treated by Gosselin for about 12 years was critical of the treatment she received.

The woman, who spoke on the condition that her name not be used, said she was a patient until Gosselin’s medical license was suspended.

“He started me on painkillers, I never even asked for them,” the woman said. “Then, when he was losing his license, he cut me off.”

The woman said she was given narcotic painkillers including Vicodin, which can be habit-forming, according to the “Physician’s Desk Reference,” an authoritative guide to prescription medications used by doctors; and oxycodone, which the reference guide said should not be discontinued abruptly.

Treatment with the painkillers began after the woman told Gosselin that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I really thought I wasn’t in that much pain. The cancer center wasn’t giving me pain medications,” she said.

When Gosselin’s license was suspended, the woman said, she could not get her prescriptions refilled and went through a period of suffering from withdrawal symptoms after she stopped taking the narcotics.

“I went through hell,” she said. “Six years of taking painkillers and then you have nothing. You are really, really sick. It took me four weeks to recover.”

Another patient, Al Languet, 41, of Belgrade, said he suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, a disorder that causes painful headaches, and Gosselin has treated the pain with trigger point injections in his face, as well as acupuncture.

After Gosselin’s license suspension, Languet went to the Veterans Affairs hospital for help, he said.

“The VA told me they can’t give the care that Dr. Gosselin gives me, with trigger point injections,” he said.

Languet, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1992 to 1996 and the Army from 2004 to 2011, said his condition is combat-related and triggered by his experience with explosions in Afghanistan. The injections are painful but allow him to function in daily life, which he could not do before, he said.

Gosselin said those injections include a long-acting local anesthetic with a type of steroid.

“He saved my life,” Languet said of Gosselin. “I was ready to put a bullet in my head.”

In ordering the suspension, the board said it can be reduced to a 90-day term followed by five years’ probation, provided that Gosselin undergoes substance abuse and mental health evaluations and submits a plan to respond to the results of the assessment. During the probation period, Gosselin would be required to report monthly that he is following the treatment plan.

Gosselin said his most pressing concern is for his patients.

“If the board’s mandate is to protect patients, in their rush to do whatever they did to me, they ended up hurting a lot of people,” he said.

An osteopath, Gosselin was first licensed in 1999 and practiced most recently on College Avenue in Waterville. He previously had offices in Oakland and in Augusta, patients said.

In an interview Tuesday, Gosselin said that since his license suspension, many of his patients have called to say they are unable to find other doctors and are without their medication because pharmacies will not honor Gosselin’s prescriptions for refills.

He said his secretary is doing her best to find doctors for his patients and send their records. Meanwhile, he said he is seeking a stay of the suspension for three weeks, which would allow him to take care of patients who have “fallen through the cracks.”

“Some of them are on meds for drug dependency,” Gosselin said.

Gosselin sent a letter to his patients, dated Aug. 18, seeking to clarify “deceptions” by the Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure. He said he was in a relationship with a woman when he was in medical school, they went their separate ways six years ago and then got back together for a year.

“The board stated that because I provided her with medications for bronchitis and sleep, on two occasions, this was a ‘boundary violation,’ not sexual misconduct.”

Gosselin’s suspension was the result of a board-initiated complaint. Gosselin also said he did not anticipate the board’s decision and therefore could not notify his patients in time for them to find other doctors, despite the board’s comments to the contrary.

“Seven days is not enough time to transition nearly 1,400 patients,” he said.

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