Dr. Anna Konopka, an 84-year-old physician from New Hampshire’s New London, lost her license after the medical board learned that she did not know how to use a computer. The elderly doctor appeared in state court on Friday, Nov. 3, in an effort to regain her medical license.
Konopka has insisted that her filing system for managing the records of various prescriptions and medical conditions for her patients works fine. However, the New Hampshire Board of Medicine is in disagreement and challenged the doctor’s decision making, prescribing practices, and record keeping.
Konopka’s office does not have a computer and neither does she know how to operate one. Her office is inside a 160-year-old clapboard house where she keeps her patients’ records in two filing cabinets.
“The problem now is that I am not doing certain things on computer,” Konopka said. “I have to learn that. It is time consuming. I have no time.”
A part of the board’s concern is about the physician’s remedial computer skills, which prevent her from accessing and using the mandatory electronic drug monitoring program of the state. New Hampshire signed a program in 2014 that requires opioid prescribers to register in an effort to reduce overdoses.
The allegations against the physician reportedly began with a complaint related to a 7-year-old asthma patient’s treatment. Konopka was accused of patient’s treatment failure regarding daily inhaled steroids and leaving the medication dosing levels of one drug to the parents.
In May, Konopka agreed to a board reprimand. However, the doctor added that she did not harm the patient, and the problem was that the patient’s mother did not follow her instructions. Since then, four more complaints have been filed against the physician.
In September, the state board voted to go ahead with a disciplinary hearing on those complaints. The physician agreed in October to give up her license before the hearing was held. However, she said that she was actually forced to do so.
The doctor appeared in court on Nov. 3 without an attorney and pressed the Merrimack County Superior Court judge to order the state’s medical board to reinstate her. The 84-year-old told the court that the board threatened to revoke her license if she did not give it up voluntarily.
Incidentally, several of Konopka’s patients have written letters on her behalf to support the doctor in her ongoing fight, in addition to being in constant touch with her to check on the case. The hearing saw many of her patients attend, who also said that they have been struggling since the doctor stopped seeing them.