Ohio board suspends doctor's license after '08 plane crash

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TOLEDO (AP) -- The Ohio State Medical Board has suspended the license of a doctor who signed off on the airman medical certificate for a pilot blamed in a fatal crash that killed six people.

The board says Dr. Jerome McTague of Port Clinton "departed from or failed to conform to minimal standards of care" for not detecting and documenting former state legislator Gene Damschroder's deteroriating eyesight. Federal safety investigators faulted the 86-year-old Damschroder for the 2008 crash that killed him and five passengers at the Fremont airport in northern Ohio.

McTague's license is suspended for at least two years. Upon reinstatement, he would be on probation three years.

The Blade of Toledo reports (http://bit.ly/1ijKqLJ) that McTague declined comment. He can appeal the suspension to a common pleas court.

Damschroder had been warned not to drive by his eye doctor, the National Transportation Safety Board said in its 2010 report on the accident. He had been in treatment for macular degeneration. Investigators couldn't conclude whether his eyesight or another ailment contributed to his losing control of the single-engine plane at a charity event.

The Ohio board cited the NTSB report in its inquiry into McTague, an emergency room doctor and former Ottawa County coroner. The medical board reviewed McTague's examinations of Damschroder for the certificate.

Danielle Blue, hearing officer for the medical board, said McTague was required to conduct a thorough and careful examination, and "issue a medical certificate only if (Damschroder) met the FAA's medical standards."

A medical board spokeswoman said the hearing officer recommended a 60-day suspension, but that the board decided the case merited a two-year suspension effective Feb. 26.

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