Medical board suspends Victoria doctor's license

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

June 3, 2013 at 1:03 a.m.

A 68-year-old Victoria doctor who admitted to abusing narcotics has had his medical license temporarily suspended for failing to take routine drug tests and possibly putting patients' welfare at risk.

Dr. Joseph Emerson Burks, who practiced internal medicine and pulmonology in Victoria, reported himself to the Texas Physician Health Program in 2012 about his history of substance abuse, according to the Texas Medical Board order.

Burks entered into a three-year monitoring and assistance agreement with the program that would run until July 2015. Burks continued to practice and at that time tested positive for codeine, hydromorphone, methadone and hydrocodone. He missed several drug tests and did not provide an explanation, according to the report.

His privileges were revoked May 2 until further notice.

Burks could not be reached for comment, but David Brown, CEO for Citizens Medical Center, considered him one of the best pulmonlogists in the area.

Burks did not renew his contract for hospital privileges at Citizens when his contract ended in May 2012, Brown said.

"I thought highly of him," Brown said. "He worked long hours every day. He was quite a worker."

Burks is a former member of the DeTar Healthcare System staff as well. William Blanchard, the hospital CEO, said Burks has not practiced at the hospital for more than eight years.

Blachard declined to comment on Burks' character or his license suspension.

Burks has 40 years of medical practice, according to his profile on the state board's website. He graduated in 1973 from the University of Texas at Galveston Medical Branch.

His office is registered at 2806 N. Navarro St., Suite C. A recorded message said his office phone number is no longer in service.



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