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Patrick Springer, Published March 05 2014

Fargo doctor faces possible disciplinary action

FARGO – Dr. Michael Gonzales, a pain management specialist, has agreed to stop seeing patients and prescribing medication pending an investigation by the North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners.

Duane Houdek, executive secretary of the medical examiners board, said the investigative process is confidential. If the board takes action, however, that information is public.

Gonzales signed the agreement Feb. 14, which means he willingly will not practice medicine until any action is authorized by the licensing board or its investigative panel, which meet March 20-21.

The agreement said medical examiners have obtained information they believe provides a “basis for disciplinary action” but did not elaborate.

Gonzales was chairman of Sanford Health’s pain services, which he joined in January 2004 and left as of Feb. 28, according to information provided by Sanford.

A Sanford spokesman declined to comment, however, because it does not discuss “matters of employment.”

Sanford on Monday sent a letter to Gonzales’ patients informing them that he is no longer employed there and explaining that his appointments are being rescheduled, and that other doctors can provide prescriptions.

“I have no comment on the matter,” Gonzales said Wednesday.

Besides working at Sanford, Gonzales was a clinical assistant professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, according to his Sanford biography.

He is certified by the American Board of Pain Medicine and the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Gonzales has no history of discipline, according to North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners public records.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522