The only known state to issue Anthony J. Garcia a physician's license suspended it less than a week after he was arrested and charged with four Omaha slayings.
Illinois suspended Garcia's physician license and his license to prescribe controlled substances on Friday. The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation said on its website that Garcia's licenses were suspended for “failure to disclose information and/or falsifying documentation to obtain licensure.” An Illinois spokesperson for the department did not respond to a request for comment.
The state issued a summary suspension of Garcia's license. That type of suspension can be imposed only when allowing the doctor to continue to practice “constitutes an immediate danger” to the public, patients, visitors and staff, according to the Illinois Hospital Licensing Act. A summary suspension can be issued only if there is documentation of immediate danger, the statute says.
“It is the worst form of corrective action you can impose on a physician,” said Michael Callahan, a Chicago lawyer who is an expert on summary suspension.
Issuing a summary suspension is rare in Illinois, Callahan said. He added that the state often is criticized by the public for not more aggressively investigating problem doctors.
Oftentimes, Illinois relies on what the medical license applicant discloses about his or her background and experience, Callahan said. Limited resources prevent the state from catching employment troubles if the applicant doesn't disclose them, he said.
“Illinois doesn't have a reputation of being aggressive enough in revoking a medical license,” Callahan said. “Medical facilities are understaffed and overworked. When you talk about a summary suspension, you are talking about some egregious event that is tied to a crime.”
Omaha investigators allege that in an act of revenge Garcia stabbed and killed Thomas Hunter, the 11-year-old son of Garcia's supervisor in the Creighton pathology residency program, and the family's house cleaner, Shirlee Sherman. Those killings occurred in March 2008. Police also say Garcia killed Creighton pathologist Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, in May 2013.
Creighton pathologists William Hunter and Roger Brumback played a role in Garcia's dismissal from Creighton's residency program in June 2001. By August of that year, Garcia had moved to Chicago to become a pathology resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.
Garcia was issued an Illinois physician license in May 2003 while still a pathology resident. He left the residency two months after receiving the license, citing poor health, migraines and depression, according to a letter Garcia wrote to another medical board.
In October 2006, Garcia was issued an Illinois license to prescribe controlled substances. Both Illinois licenses that were suspended were set to expire July 2014.
Garcia was fired from a residency program and was denied a license to practice medicine in Louisiana in 2008 after the state's medical board realized that Garcia failed to disclose his firing from other residency programs.