Computer-Hating Doctor, 84, Fights for Medical License

Dr. Anna Konopka of New Hampshire runs afoul of law
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2017 5:31 PM CST
Doctor, 84, Shuns Computers, Fights for Her Medical License
In this Nov. 3, 2017, file photo, Dr. Anna Konopka, left, is greeted by Barbara McKelvy, right, following an emergency court hearing about Konopka's medical license at Merrimack County Superior Court, in Concord, N.H.   (Geoff Forester/The Concord Monitor via AP, Pool, File)

An unusual fight over a doctor's license to practice medicine is unfolding in New Hampshire. As NHPR explains, Dr. Anna Konopka keeps track of her patients in New London the old-school way, with handwritten files instead of computers. One problem? That puts Konopka in violation of a state law requiring doctors who prescribe opioids to use an online database designed to curb abuse. The computer issue isn't the only one at play: The AP reports that five complaints had been registered against Konopka in recent years over her medical decisions, and she voluntarily surrendered her license in September. But she now claims she did so under duress and is fighting to get the license back. Konopka says her patients are mostly poor, rural residents who can't afford care elsewhere and aren't bothered by the lack of computers.

"Electronic medicine is for the system, not for the patients," the doctor, a native of Poland, tells CNN. "The system is destroying human relations between the doctor and the patient." A judge who ruled against her on Nov. 15 praised Konopka's "sincere desire to continue to help her patients," but said she hadn't shown that she deserved to get her license back. Konopka is now asking the same judge to reconsider, and she has about 30 patients providing testimonials in support. A ruling could come Wednesday. "I'm not upset about anything," says Konopka. "The legal system is a game. You move. They move. It's full of tricks and different movements." (More doctor stories.)

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