JACKSON, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health has suspended the license of a West Tennessee cancer doctor for a second time.
The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners suspended Dr. Omar Ahmad’s license in 2014 but lifted that suspension in 2020. In March of 2022, the broad suspended Ahmad’s license again and said he treated patients when he was physically or mentally unable to do so.
Ahmad was working at his private practice in 2014 when he had his license suspended for the first time. According to state documents, staff noticed irregular behavior including delusions. He started getting psychiatric help but continued seeing patients. According to Department of Health filing, that caused him to miss chemotherapy appointments and fail to order needed tests. The Department of Health suspended Ahmad’s license to practice and a few months later he started treatment through the Tennessee Medical Foundation, run by Dr. Michael Baron.
“Our motto is saving lives and saving careers,” Baron said.
TMF operates the physician health program which monitors around 230 doctors like Ahmad.
Documents show therapists diagnosed Ahmad with psychosis.
“We use accountability consistency in excellence,” Baron said.
According to Baron, the monitoring can include toxicology reports, therapy and psychiatric management.
“We have an 85 percent success rate at five years,” Baron said.
The Foundation monitored Ahmad’s therapy. But two years later in 2016, Ahmad ran into legal trouble. Prosecutors charged him for allegedly threatening to kill a judge. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Documents showed Ahmad’s participation in his medical monitoring continued until 2020 when the state gave him back his license to work.
He did not succeed in this second chance.
In March 2020, records show he stopped attending appointments with his therapist and psychiatrist.
His brother, Dr. Ezad Ahmad, a practicing physician in Georgia, said Omar Ahmad’s providers reduced his medication dosage by too much and he relapsed.
According to an order issued on March 16, 2022, Omar Ahmad stopped complying with the recommendations of the Tennessee Medical Foundation by refusing psychiatry and therapy appointments and not taking his medication.
He said his brother is a “brilliant physician” who is “not well right now.”
In March of 2022, the medical board revoked Omar Ahmad’s license to practice again. Baron said the case proved monitoring works to protect the public.
“As soon as they stop being compliant, stop seeing their psychiatrist or therapist, we will get word back and then we will notify the medical board they’re no longer compliant,” Baron said.
Baron said he doesn’t think their rules are too lenient.
“The complaints we get is we’re too rigid,” he said. “I cannot comment on a particular case and there are illnesses where physicians should not practice such as advanced dementia.”
In fact, Baron argued a doctor under state monitoring is safer for the public than any other.