By Kelli Cook, Reporter
ORLANDO – A Central Florida doctor, who has been disciplined in the past for performing illegal abortions, is back in trouble again.
The Florida Board of Medicine has suspended Dr. James Pendergraft’s license for the fourth time.
Pendergraft has certainly had a tumultuous medical career.
According to documents from the Department of Health, his license has been suspended for doing illegal third trimester abortions, distributing drugs without a license, and in 2004, the doctor ran into legal troubles.
He was caught up in what prosecutors alleged was extortion in Marion County surrounding his abortion clinic there.
He pleaded guilty to impeding justice.
“I think it’s a wake-up call for us all when we have an individual who is allowed to practice medicine in a way that draws question as to both his credibility and capability,” said Aaron Liberman, the chairman of the Department of Health Management and Informatics at the University of Central Florida.
The doctor’s troubles don’t end there.
Pendergraft was again before the Board of Medicine Saturday.
Board members voted to suspend his license again for one year. This time he was accused in incidents related to a troubled 31-year-old employee.
The board said he:
- Allowed the woman to administer narcotics to patients although she had no license to do so
- Knew she abused drugs but gave her “free reign” to order drugs under his name
- Prescribed steroids for the woman without medical justification
The Department of Health said Pendergraft’s numerous suspensions will run concurrent to each other, and once they’re finished, he’ll be free to practice in the state of Florida again.
Liberman finds Pendergraft’s lenient punishment wrong.
“Unfortunately, in the state of Florida over the past many years, we have not seen the enforcement and the rigor (in) some other states like Iowa, Indiana, (and) Minnesota,” Liberman said.
He said if Pendergraft was in those states, it’s unlikely he would be eligible to get his license back.
News 13 made several calls to Pendergraft at his clinics in Orlando and Ocala and to his lawyer’s office.
He did not respond to any of our messages.
In addition to the one year suspension, Pendergraft was fined $10,000, given three years pro