Dr. Sung-Un Park

Dr. Sung-Un Park treated a tumor with pain medication

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Published: 11 August 2017

Posted by: Tina R. Crumbley

Dr. Sung-Un Park, a Fullerton neurologist was disciplined by the Medical Board of California after he kept prescribing medicines to a patient who needed to have a skull tumor surgically removed. On March 30th, his surgeon and physician certificate was revoked at 5 pm. However, the order is stayed until successful completion of the terms of his probation period of 4 years.
The patient was a 58 year old man who had started getting headaches in July 2010. His primary care doctor found a mass developing via an MRI on his skull, and sent him to Park with a referral. The document that he initially received from the physician referenced the mass. However, Park simply told the patient that the headaches were because of tension. He prescribed Imipramine, which is usually used to treat chronic pain. It’s an off-label antidepressant, according to the medical board. He said he would consider the MRI results only if the medication did not solve the problem.
In November 2010, the patient returned to see Park because he was still suffering from the headaches. This time, Park prescribed Topiramate, and also discussed Botox injections with the patient. Topiramate is often used in weight loss programs in patients, and is also an anti-epilepsy drug.
After an incident on 24th January 2011 in which the patient suffered from a severe frontal headache, Park still did not do his duty. The patient was actually sent to the emergency room of the Tri-City Regional Medical Center in Hawaiian Gardens. The medical board reported that there was little change in the condition of the patient when he was looked at in the emergency room that day. A CT scan that was taken revealed that the suprasellar/large sella mass that had been previously discovered had not gone away. This was when he was asked to follow up with his neurologist the next day. He was sent home with a cluster headaches handout.
Accordingly, Park saw the patient on the 26th of January. He said that the meningioma and migraine had improved. Meningioma is a tumor that occurs in the brain most often, he said. It requires no treatment and causes no symptoms. However, the board states that some of these tumors can cause death of the patient if they are cancerous. Park reassured his patient about meningioma. He gave him Advil for pain and Imipramine and Topomax as well. The patient returned to see Park in May, because they headaches were still there. Park saw him again in August and September of the same year. Park still insisted that it was because of chronic tension, and told him there was no structural cause for the pain. He added Vicoprofen and Pamelor besides a Vicodin/Advil combo. Vicoprofen is a pain medication pill, while Pamelor is an anti-depressant. He also increased the dosage of Topomax.
The patient finally underwent surgery in 23rd February 2012 at the Long Beach Memorial Hospital, after a biopsy was carried out.
Park’s treatment of the patient was stated to be a drastic departure from standard care that patients usually got by the medical board. According to the medical board, if Park does not abide by the terms of his probation, he will have to give up his medical license. He has to be monitored by a board designee for a month, will not be allowed to supervise any physician assistant during the period of the probation, submit reports after every quarter to the board, be available for board interviews, enroll in a clinical training program, give notice regarding the discipline to all the hospitals and clinics where he has privileges, obey all laws, inform the board about it if he doesn’t practice for a significant period of time and bear all costs pertaining to monitoring of his practice.

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