Oklahoma pharmacist has license indefinitely suspended for giving 9 people insulin instead of flu shots

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A pharmacist accused of giving patients and staff at a Bartlesville medical center insulin instead of flu vaccine appeared before the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy on Wednesday to learn his punishment.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A pharmacist accused of giving patients and staff at a Bartlesville medical center insulin instead of flu vaccine appeared before the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy on Wednesday to learn his punishment.

Dr. James Sutterfield allegedly gave nine people insulin instead of flu vaccine last November.

As a result, the board voted to indefinitely suspend his license with an immediate stay. He’s also no longer to give immunization shots or dispense medication, has to attend law seminars and continuing education classes for the next two years and pay a $23,400 fine.

"This is the first infraction that he's come upon. Bad decisions and sometimes accidents do happen,” Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Marty Hendrick said. “We have to take into account all those things that revolve around it."

The agreed order passed by a vote of four to one. The one vote against came from Jason Willeford, the only non-pharmacist on the board.

Willeford questioned if the punishment was sufficient because Sutterfield has never admitted to or denied the alligations.

“The respondent was honest and forthgoing in what had happened, and helped us in our investigation on this situation.,” Hendrick said. “He also understood too the ramifications of this. The facts and details are all there in the complaint.”

In the complaint, it says not only did Sutterfield give nine people insulin instead of flu vaccine – sending all of them to the hospital – but after realizing what he did, Sutterfield allegedly threw away some of the vaccine to try and cover up his mistake. Hendrick says Sutterfield's alleged concealment went into the decision to no longer allow him to dispense medication.

Sutterfield did say he plans to retire in April. He says he plans to start working with the tribes as a diabetic educator.

Sutterfield spoke briefly at the hearing, but after it was over, his lawyer declined to comment.

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