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Doctor Suspended for Overdoses

November 10, 1998

BOSTON (AP) _ Massachusetts medical authorities disciplined a doctor who prescribed an overdose of chemotherapy that killed one woman and seriously sickened another, questioning his competence and finding him guilty of malpractice, officials said Monday.

The state’s Board of Registration in Medicine suspended Dr. James Foran for prescribing four times the proper dosage of chemotherapy drugs to the women at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in November 1994.

The overdoses sickened Maureen Bateman, a teacher from North Andover, and killed Betsy A. Lehman, a 39-year-old health columnist for The Boston Globe. Both had breast cancer.

``Dr. Foran engaged in conduct which calls into question his competence to practice medicine, including practicing medicine with negligence on repeated occasions,″ the board wrote in a consent order signed by Foran last week.

But the board also decided to allow Foran, now living in England, to re-apply to practice medicine again in Massachusetts. It issued a three-year suspension retroactive to October 1995 _ making him eligible to reapply starting this month.

Board spokesman Charles Moore said although Foran was free to re-apply, his disciplinary record would be taken into account by the board.

Lehman died of a heart attack in December 1994. Bateman’s heart was severely damaged but she slowly recovered. Later she developed other cancers and died in May 1997 after declining further chemotherapy.

Robert Distel, Lehman’s husband, received a multimillion-dollar settlement from the hospital.

The Batemans sued Dana-Farber and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

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