SPOKANE, Wash. (September 18, 2012)—Spokane, Wash., dermatologist Dr. William “Phil” Werschler has won a $600,000 settlement and rare public apology from Washington state health officials who went public with charges of drug abuse and medical fraud based on a bogus tip from his ex-wife.
Agency officials say the payment to Werschler is among the largest settlements in decades by the state Department of Health involving a physician.
The public apology might be the first of its kind.
In a separate lawsuit, Werschler collected more than $100,000 from his ex-wife, Kara Werschler, who did not immediately return a call.
She ignited the investigation late in the couple's bitter divorce by filing an anonymous complaint studded with accusations of office cocaine binges, sex orgies with staff and patients, hiring prostitutes, and falsification of medical drug records.