Suspended doctor broke X-ray rules

Dr. Rodney J. Lee, whose license to practice medicine in North Dakota was suspended last week, was fined $6,279 in 2007 for violating Minnesota rules regarding X-ray equipment at a clinic he owns in Moorhead.

Dr. Rodney J. Lee, whose license to practice medicine in North Dakota was suspended last week, was fined $6,279 in 2007 for violating Minnesota rules regarding X-ray equipment at a clinic he owns in Moorhead.

The Minnesota Department of Health conducted an inspection of the Moorhead RapidCare clinic in February 2007 after receiving a citizen complaint and found 26 violations of state regulations, according to documents obtained from the Department of Health.

The inspection revealed that unqualified individuals were ordering and taking X-rays and there was no quality assurance program in place as required by law, said Kimberly Pappas, supervisor of the Department of Health's radiation control unit.

No aprons

Pappas said the clinic was found to have no lead aprons, which are required for certain X-ray procedures, including those used on children.


She said because the clinic did not maintain adequate patient logs, which list what type of X-rays are given to whom, state officials could not determine whether any patients had been put at risk.

Lee declined to speak at length about the inspection. He said the clinic corrected "a simple compliance issue" that had no relation to patient care.

Pappas said Lee was given 30 days to correct problems at the Moorhead clinic, and he decided to move the X-ray equipment to one of his Fargo clinics.

Lee said Thursday the move was made because the equipment was rarely used in Moorhead.

The North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners has issued an emergency suspension of Lee's license, saying he violated accepted medical practices in several areas.

In addition to the Moorhead site, Lee owns two RapidCare clinics in Fargo and one in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

All the clinics were closed Wednesday, but the North Dakota sites reopened Thursday, Lee said.

He said the clinic in Moorhead remained closed because of staffing issues and said he wasn't sure about the status of the clinic in Detroit Lakes.


Calls to the clinic went unanswered Thursday.

Bill Marczewski, a spokesman for the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, said Thursday that Lee's Minnesota license remains valid. He said he could not comment on whether the agency is investigating any complaints involving Lee.

Hockey injury

Moorhead Police Lt. Chris Carey took his 13-year-old daughter to the Moorhead clinic in February 2007 after she hurt her thumb playing hockey.

Carey said one X-ray was taken of his daughter's hand without the use of a lead apron.

He said they were told they would be informed of the X-ray results within 24 hours, but he said they had not heard back by the time his daughter went to hockey the following day.

When a trainer taped the girl's hand so she could play, he could tell by how it felt that something was seriously wrong, Carey said.

He said he took his daughter to MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, where three X-rays were taken and it was determined the girl had a broken thumb.


Carey said he never received X-ray results from the RapidCare clinic and he reported the incident to state health officials.

In retrospect, he said he's glad his daughter received only one X-ray at the clinic because it limited her exposure to radiation.

Lee said Thursday that both of the Fargo-area clinics have X-ray equipment.

Pappas said she sent an inspector to the Detroit Lakes RapidCare clinic last week and no X-ray equipment was found there.

Lee said Dr. Hans Bjellum has taken over as supervisor of the North Dakota clinics. Lee added that staffing levels remain a problem.

"A little thin right now," said Lee, adding control of the clinics will likely change hands soon.

"There will be some type of transfer of ownership, so I can save these clinics from any further possible targeting," Lee said.

Moorhead Drug Store pharmacist Jim Bjorklund said he was beginning to see prescriptions come in that had been signed by Bjellum.


Bjorklund said his store has never had a problem with Lee's prescriptions, adding Lee did not permit refills without a doctor visit.

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