VA “Candy Man” Who Over-Prescribed Addictive Medications To Vets Forfeits Medical LicenseScreen Shot 2017-01-27 at 2.20.49 PM
Dr. David “Candy Man” Houlihan of the Tomah, Wisconsin VA surrendered his license to practice medicine in the state of Wisconsin last week. Houlihan earned himself the title “Candy Man” by over-prescribing addictive medications to veteran patients. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services has agreed to drop their investigation into Houlihan on the condition that he surrender his license.
The Tomah VA is notorious for providing sub-standard care to veterans using the facility. Houlihan is accused of failing “to provide appropriate care” to at least 22 veterans during his time overseeing the medical center. Patients have reported being prescribed “drug cocktails” made of powerful narcotics, regardless of the nature of their ailment.
Some of these drug cocktails proved to be fatal. It has been confirmed that at least one 35-year-old marine died of an overdose from prescription drugs while at the facility.
Employees of the facility claim that Houlihan created a hostile anti-whistle blower environment within the facility, which allowed the poor treatment to go continue without being reported. Employees claim their jobs were threatened, and in some cases, they were even threatened with physical violence.
One report states that a facility pharmacist was “fired after questing prescriptions” and another whistleblower, Christopher Kirkpatrick, “died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” Kirkpatrick had raised red flags about over-prescribing practices at the medical center shortly before his death.
The investigation ended two years after Tomah VA employee Ryan Honl came forward and blew the whistle on Dr. Houlihan. Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Deputy Director Nate Anderson issued the following statement:
“The ‘Candy Land’ tragedy has taken years to resolve, thanks to the negligence of VA bureaucrats and neglect of Sen. Baldwin. During that time, the health of Wisconsin veterans who rely on the VA for care has been put at serious risk. We’re glad Dr. Houlihan’s run has come to an end, but getting rid of employees who put the lives of veterans in danger should not be so difficult. Meanwhile, veterans who are being underserved or mistreated by the VA should have the right to seek care elsewhere.”
Patients and employees of the facility hope that the removal of Dr. Houlihan is the first of many changes coming to the facility.