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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LLOYD A. GRUMBLES (11/25/75)

decided: November 25, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION AND LICENSURE
v.
LLOYD A. GRUMBLES, M.D., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure in case of In The Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of the License to Practice Medicine and Surgery No. 3635-E, Issued June 26, 1952 to Lloyd A. Grumbles, M.D.

COUNSEL

Neil E. Jokelson, with him Mitchell S. Lipschutz, for appellant.

Gerald Gornish, Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 76]

Lloyd A. Grumbles, M.D., here appeals from an order of the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure revoking his license to practice his profession. Doctor Grumbles has been licensed to practice medicine and surgery since 1952 and he is a board certified psychiatrist. He practiced for governmental agencies until 1957 when he took up private practice in Philadelphia as a psychiatrist. From that date until May of 1970 he resided at 1000 West Cheltenham Avenue with his wife and their children. The doctor's offices were in his residence. Dr. Grumbles' wife, who seems also to have been his patient suffering from an emotional disorder, left him in May of 1970 taking at least one of their children with her. From July 1970 until August 1971 Dr. Grumbles' office was in the Medical Arts Building in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and from August 1972 until the hearings in this matter, the last of which was conducted in October 1972, he practiced at 523 West Tabor Road.

The State Board of Medical Education and Licensure, apparently as the result of a communication from one Mrs. Mary Burnahm, a former patient of Dr. Grumbles and friend of both the doctor and Mrs. Grumbles and, after their separation, a friend of Mrs. Grumbles, cited the doctor to appear before it to show cause why his license should not be suspended or revoked. The citation is dated December 23, 1971 and described eight charges of misconduct. Hearings were conducted by the Board commencing in April 1972 and concluding in October of the same year. The Board's adjudication revoking the doctor's license was issued on November 21, 1974.

The State Board of Medical Education and Licensure as constituted at the time of the citation and hearings in this matter was by law to consist of seven persons,

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 77]

    two being the Commonwealth's Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs and its Secretary of Health and the other five being physicians appointed by the Governor from a list submitted by the Pennsylvania Medical Society. Section 412 of the Administrative Code of 1929, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, as amended, 71 P.S. § 122. The practice of medicine at the time the citation was issued and hearings conducted in this case was governed by the then Medical Practice Act, Act of June 3, 1911, P.L. 639, as amended, 63 P.S. § 401 et seq. Section 12 of that Act, 63 P.S. § 401, provided in part:

"The Board . . . may, for a definite or indefinite time, refuse, revoke, or suspend a license for any or all of the following reasons, to wit: . . . . The board may so act upon satisfactory proof of grossly unethical practice, or any form of pretense which might induce persons to become prey to professional exploitation . . . ."

The hearings in this matter were conducted exclusively by physicians. Five physicians (one of which was a representative of the Department of Health) attended the first hearing conducted on April 13, 1972; four (again including the representative of the Department of Health) appeared at the second hearing on May 25, 1972. Three attended the final hearing conducted on October 10, 1972. Of the five members participating, two members attended all hearings and three attended only two.

Section 412 of the Administrative Code of 1929 was amended by the Act of July 20, 1974, P.L. 549, 71 P.S. § 122 (Supp. 1975-1976), so as to provide that the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure should consist of nine members, two of whom should be the Commonwealth's Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs and its Secretary of Health, five should be physicians, one should be a person knowledgeable in the field of allied health services, and the remaining person should

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 78]

    be a representative of the public at large.*fn1 Hence, between the dates when the citation was issued and the hearings conducted in this matter and the time the adjudication was rendered the Board was reconstituted. The citation in this case is signed by one John F. Hartman, M.D. as Chairman of the Board. The notes of testimony of the hearings show them to have been presided over by John W. Robertson, Jr., M.D., as Chairman of the Board. The adjudication filed more than two years later is signed by William J. Kelly, M.D., as Chairman of the Board, and by the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs. We record these circumstances because the deputy attorneys general representing the Board urge us to give great weight to the findings contained in the adjudication because members of the Board saw and heard the witnesses. While a person bearing the same name as William J. Kelly, M.D., the signer of the adjudication, was present at some but not all of the hearings (he was not present at the hearing when Dr. Grumbles' ...


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