Valley Street jail doctor's license suspended

MANCHESTER — The doctor who oversees medical care for hundreds of inmates at the Valley Street jail had his medical license temporarily suspended, after state medical officials said his continued practice at the jail would amount to an imminent danger to life, safety and health. >

In a 15-page emergency order released Monday, the state Board of Medicine detailed alleged mistreatments under Dr. Matthew J. Masewic. They included a still birth, a pelvic abscess that led to paralysis, and refusals to allow access to proper medications.

The alleged transgressions took place between 2011 and last year.

The Board of Medicine scheduled a hearing for Masewic, who is also a unit medical director at the New Hampshire Hospital, for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the board offices, 121 Fruit St., Concord.

The suspension only covers Masewic’s ability to practice at correctional facilities.

“The guy has to have a hearing first. We have to find out what’s going on,” said David Dionne, the Hillsborough County superintendent of corrections. Dionne stressed that Masewic is in charge of medical care of inmates, and Dionne said he’s not in a position to judge the care Masewic provided.

“I think he’s done the job a doctor would do,” Dionne said.

Dionne said Masewic, who contracted with the county, was discontinuing services as of June 30. Dionne said the county had already contracted with Dr. Christopher Braga to take over Masewic’s responsibilities; Braga was brought on Saturday.

In the emergency order, the Board of Medicine details the medical care of four inmates under Masewic:

• In November 2011, Masewic refused to allow an inmate identified as JP to access to the methadone, Dilaudid and Klonopin that JP’s physician had prescribed. The refusal continued even after JP returned from a hospital emergency room with the medications. He had gone to the hospital with chest pains.

• In the summer of 2012, an inmate known as WR complained about acute pain, hemorrhoids and problems going to the bathroom. Masewic chalked up the complaints to a prison assault. When WR was eventually taken to the hospital, doctors found pelvic and spinal abscesses, which resulted in paralysis.

• In December 2014, AK, who entered the jail 30 weeks pregnant, delivered a stillborn baby. Initial problems dealt with possible methadone withdrawals and an infected cyst. For two days, she had complained about abdominal pain believed caused by the cyst, but no antibiotics were prescribed.

• In the spring and summer of 2015, an inmate known as MY sought repeatedly to speak to a physician about migraine headaches. The symptoms also included blurred vision and nausea. Nurses provided Tylenol and Motrin. But Masewic ordered that all pain medications be discontinued for six months.

Two of the cases deal with the jail’s insistence that no inmates receive methadone except pregnant females.

Dionne said Masewic set the policy. “That’s the doctor; that’s not us,” Dionne said.

When medical investigators interviewed Masewic, he said he was responsible for the medical care of the 600-some inmates at the jail.

He said he is available for telephone consultations and holds clinic eight hours a week at the jail.

“If a nurse provides the medical care that I have ordered, then I am responsible for that care, provided they administer the care in accordance with my orders and in compliance with nursing standards,” he told investigators.

He earns about $90,000 a year, Dionne said.

In 2013, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported about several lawsuits that the county settled by inmates over questionable medical care.

Masewic’s predecessor, Dr. Charles L. Ward, was fired after a federal judge ordered the jail to provide an inmate with the medications her outside doctor had prescribed.

The emergency order can be viewed using the link below:

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