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The professional license of Sue Anne McCarthy, a former physician assistant at Buffalo's Sheehan Memorial Hospital, has been suspended for allegedly mishandling eight patients and improperly prescribing medication for herself and someone else.

State Health Department officials in Albany said Monday that McCarthy, 44, a Town of Tonawanda resident fired from the Sheehan staff July 7, has been deemed an imminent danger to public health should she be allowed to continue to practice while her noncriminal case is reviewed.

State Health Department spokeswoman Kristine Smith said McCarthy, who received her physician assistant license on Feb. 25, 1997, from the state Department of Education, is accused of professional misconduct from October 1998 until her dismissal from the Sheehan staff.

Smith said McCarthy has been cited on 28 counts of professional misconduct for allegedly mistreating six female and two male patients in Sheehan's Family Care Center and forging a doctor's name to obtain controlled substances for herself and another person whom Smith refused to identify.

Smith confirmed that McCarthy is accused of working while impaired by controlled substances and has been accused of being a "habitual user" of various controlled substances she fraudulently obtained.

Professional misconduct proceedings have been postponed at McCarthy's request, and Smith confirmed that the state Health Department's files on such misconduct cases are "shared" with other state agencies, but she declined to comment on whether criminal charges are being considered.

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