Woman’s Death After IV Therapy Leads to License Suspension for Frisco Anesthesiologist
By Will Maddox|October 18, 2023
The Texas Medical Board suspended Frisco anesthesiologist Dr. Michael Gallagher after a mother of four died in July at a med spa for which he was the medical director. She died after receiving an IV treatment administered by the non-licensed owner of the business.
Gallagher is the medical director for Luxe Med Spa in Wortham, Texas, which opened in May and is owned by Amber Johnson. It is 106 miles south of his official practice address in Frisco, Texas Partners Healthcare Group. Gallagher is not listed on the website for the pain management practice.
KCEN TV reports that the victim was a mother of four named Jenifer Cleveland of Fairfield, TX.
According to board documents, the spa did not have protocols or policies related to the staff’s administration of IV therapy, and what protocols did exist were “used to vaguely inform Luxe’s patients of the IV therapy process.” The only indication of a deal between Gallagher and the practice is an unsigned agreement between him and Johnson.
The board alleges that there were no licensed medical staff or experienced personnel onsite while IV therapy was being administered at Luxe, and says that Gallagher was only onsite for the grand opening in May, once more in June, and on the day of the patient’s death, July 10.
Gallagher allegedly failed to supervise Johnson, who did not have a license to administer IV therapy or prescription pharmaceutical solutions. The treatment Cleveland received before dying included vitamin B complex, vitamin B12, TPN electrolytes, and ascorbic acid. TPN electrolyte solution requires a prescription and is known to cause complications.
According to board documents, Cleveland became unresponsive shortly after the IV treatment began on July 10. The staff called 911 and began administering CPR. The patient was taken to a hospital in Mexia and diagnosed with an unspecified cardiac arrest. Seven minutes after arriving at the hospital, staff pronounced Cleveland dead.
Gallagher’s credentials enabled Luxe to administer prescription-level IV treatments, but the board alleges that he did not establish the doctor-patient relationship needed to dispense prescription medications. Additionally, the board documents say that the lack of protocols and oversight makes Gallagher a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare of Texas citizens.
IV therapy is a growing market, but complications can be deadly because it is often administered in medical spas with little medical supervision. According to Zion Market Research, the global med spa market was $16.51 billion in 2022 and is estimated to grow to $49.1 billion by 2030, an annual growth rate of more than 14 percent over that period.