Montgomery Cancer Doctor Wins License Reprieve; Competitor Denies So-Called "Turf War"

A Montgomery cancer doctor accused of bad medical judgment, endangering his patients and prescribing unnecessary treatment is headed back to work.

Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Charles Price issued a ten day temporary restraining order against the Alabama Medical Licensure Commission, which revoked Dr. David G. Morrison's license last Wednesday.

Morrison's lawyers argued at least 600 patients are in various stages of cancer treatment and needed his attention.

The biggest part of the case against Morrison is the testimony of outside experts who say he violated a number of medical protocols.

Morrison's supporters say those experts are actually working for the doctor's competition.

WSFA 12 News reporter Chris Holmes has the story you'll see only on 12, and

Monday's court action is the first step in a long process that might find David Morrison back in business, or out of medicine completely.

Under state law, the only way a judge can overturn the Medical Board's revocation is to find it went beyond its regulatory authority, or acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner.

Because of those requirements, the board's lawyer says it looks bleak for Morrison.

"Based on Alabama law, under the case law in existence, I don't see any way that ultimately, this can be overturned," said Board Attorney Spud Seale.

Morrison's supporters claim the board is working on behalf of the Montgomery Cancer Center, which they say fears Morrison's much smaller Cancer Care Center of Montgomery.

Dr. Thomas Beatrous partners with Morrison at the newer business.

"I really think it can be boiled down to those two words, turf war, and that's what we're seeing here," he said.

Morrison's friends say the so called 'turf war' started because Morrison formerly worked for the bigger company, then left and took a lot of business with him.

They go on to point  out when the state had outside examiners look at Dr. Morrison's patient charts, one of them was a well known doctor from Birmingham, Dr. Al LoBuglio.

He testified several times Morrison carried out unnecessary treatments, misdiagnosed cases, and endangered patients lives.

He is the same Dr. Al LoBuglio who spoke at a seminar for Montgomery Cancer Center in May.

But board lawyers say he is above reproach.

"There is absolutely no bias whatsoever on behalf of Dr. LoBuglio," Seale said.  "This man was the head of the comprehensive cancer care center at UAB."

Surprisingly, Morrison's lawyers say when they go before a judge, they won't talk about any possible conflict.

"We'll be presenting to Judge Price a variety of arguments but frankly we'll focus on the fact that Dr. Morrison is an excellent physician," said attorney Frank Wilson.

Morrison's team plans a straight up defense saying the experts are wrong, and that he did the best he could with the information he had.

The Montgomery Cancer Center declined an on-camera interview Monday, but issued a one page statement denying there's any turf war between Morrison and the Cancer Center.

Center officials say they are required to report any violations of Alabama law.

It says when Morrison worked at the center, other doctors met with him and counseled him concerning some of the allegations against him.  The center also says Morrison resigned from the company while those meetings and investigations were on-going.

As to the final resolution, how long will Morrison have to wait before a final judgment?

The ten day restraining order Judge Price issued will actually last 21 days.

The only time the lawyers and Judge Price could find time on the calendar for a hearing is November 19th.

Then, either side could appeal to the Alabama Court of Civil appeals and then the Alabama Supreme Court.

We also tried to contact Dr. Morrison on Monday.

Through his lawyers, he declined an on camera interview, but offered a written statement about the latest turn.

"I am pleased with Judge Price's decision today," he said.   "Now i can go back to work helping my patients.  I look forward to the appeals process where i expect to be vindicated and have my reputation restored."