Clinic closes doors as result of investigation

Published 6:50 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2018


A Washington pain clinic has closed its doors.

Pamlico Wellness Center in Washington closed last week, a closure prompted by a North Carolina Board of Nursing investigation into the clinic’s nurse practitioner prescribing opioid-based pain medications to patients.

As a result of the investigation, Amanda Champion Bunch’s approval to practice as a nurse practitioner was suspended indefinitely starting Jan 5. Bunch requested the board voluntarily suspend her approval to practice rather than practice under probationary conditions following a review by a joint subcommittee of the state nursing board and the North Carolina Medical Board, according to the published consent order from the North Carolina Board of Nursing.

The cause of the suspension was outlined in the consent order; three complaints to the board in 2016 prompted the investigation. In April 2016, a New Bern pharmacist reported Bunch had overprescribed long- and short-acting Oxycodone to a patient who was “opioid naive.” The same month, a second overprescribing complaint was received by the Board from the daughter of patient who suffered a fall in the home and ICU hospitalization for an unintentional overdose. A third complaint was lodged in September 2016 by the sister of a patient whose opioid dosage was doubled prior to a surgical procedure without consulting the surgeon, the report states.

Complaints are made directly to the nursing board, according to officials.

During the investigation, Bunch told the board she had been too trusting of patients who said they needed more pain medication, but acknowledged more assessment should have been done. She said the patient who overdosed denied having any issues with his or her pain medication use when she asked, the report stated. Bunch acknowledged that she should have consulted the surgeon about the third patient’s pain management.

As part of the investigation, six additional patient charts were externally reviewed by a nurse practitioner specializing in pain management, the consent order stated. The review was returned with 10 additional findings.

The voluntarily suspension does not impact Bunch’s ability to work as a nurse, however, it does affect the ability to prescribe medications, according to officials.  The order required that Bunch “wind down” her Washington practice before Jan. 5.