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Doctors Behaving Badly: Eye doctor prescribed drugs to patients, sight unseen

Doctors Behaving Badly: Eye doctor prescribed drugs to patients, sight unseen

Picture of William Heisel

Luckily for Dr. Dan Stephen Hollis, an Alabama ophthalmologist, medical boards rarely see selling drugs over the Internet in the same way that police officers see selling drugs in the street.

Hollis was indicted by federal prosecutors in Georgia in 2006 for prescribing drugs to patients through an internet pharmacy.

Hollis never saw the patients, never examined them, never checked to make sure they were, indeed, suffering from whatever they claimed was ailing them. He was paid to write prescriptions, and he became quite prolific.

In just one year, Hollis wrote 43,930 prescriptions for drugs that included more than 26,000 controlled Schedule III and Schedule IV substances, which include often-abused Valium, Rohypnol and Ambien.

If math isn't your strong suit, that works out to about 170 prescriptions for every work day. And, as the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners noted, "the patients' order form was Dr. Hollis' only contact with his patients.'

This is not the standard practice of medicine.

Hollis was able to cut a plea deal in 2008 that allowed him to stay out of jail but still forced him to spend one year in home confinement.

The Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners waited four years after the indictment to take any action against Hollis, and when the board did act, it did not break Hollis' stride. The board gave Hollis a public reprimand and fined him $20,000.

Let me back up. They call the reprimand "public,' but it might as well be stored inside a vault underneath a bearskin rug. If you check the board's Web site, you would have few clues that Hollis had done anything wrong or ever been accused of such. Here is what Hollis' public profile says:

Personal Information

Licensee Name: Hollis, Dan Stephen

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Year of Birth: 1947

License Information

Status: ACTIVE

License Number: MD.8278

License Issued Date: 5/17/1978

Expire Date: 12/31/2010

Public File: YES

Primary Specialty: Ophthalmology

Medical School Name: Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Medical School Location: Winston, Salem

Medical School Dates: 9/69-5/73

What part of that list would give anyone reason to investigate further? If you are a reporter, your eyes might be drawn to "Public File.' And, yes, that's the key.

He has a file that is public, and if you figure out how to download said file from the Web site you will be rewarded with another Easter egg. This guy has been disciplined once before! He was accused of being too eager to operate on a glaucoma patient and of blinding a patient in one eye.

The medical board told him he should have prescribed drugs instead.

Final question: Why hasn't the Georgia Composite Medical Board taken any action against Hollis' license? If you hunt around, you'll find that not only was Hollis in trouble twice over the past 10 years, his Lasik surgery center was shut down at least twice for unsafe medical practices and for performing unlicensed plastic surgery procedures.

Related Posts:

Q&A with Dr. Stephen Hollis, Part 1: Ban online Botox, but make other drugs more accessible

Q&A with Dr. Stephen Hollis, Part 2: Government tries to "terrorize" doctors into submission

Q&A with Dr. Stephen Hollis, Part 3: Can't protect patients from their own stupidity


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I live in the town this dr practices in.  We are a college town.  It makes me furious to think of the girls that could have suffered because this idiot was handing out rhohypnol to anyone who wanted it.

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How is it that this TRUSTED doctor who took an OATH to care for people gets away with REPEATED offenses? You get a "lower economic class" individual who gets pulled over in their vehicle with a measley 37 thousand dollars worth of cocaine and they get thrown UNDER THE PRISON CEMENT for 99 years and all their CUSTOMERS come willingly to buy and prescribe their OWN doses by what they buy.

What is the law doing here? Did this doctor BUY his way out of true justice or what? He gets house confinement which I would like to guess a pretty nice, comfortable house?  What does he have on the system that is declining to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law? He DID break the law!

I am in favor of NEITHER scenario here of wrong-doing - high class or lower class -  but I do see something very wrong with the justice system here. 170 prescriptions per day?? Prior offenses? Shut-down practices due to malpractice?

Somebody SCREAM?

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This is Doctor Hollis.  You fail to point out that all the prescriptions I wrote were for Viagra and for Phentermine.   These medications are available around the world, except here where the doctor union wants your 100 dollars to give you this prescription.   Phentermine has a side effect in that it raises blood pressure as much as a cup of coffee.  The US government had 10 years and all my records and did not identify one patient that I harmed.   The cataract center (nothing to do with lasik) was voluntarily closed one time to allow us to order our signs in Braille to be placed above our surgical scrub sinks. so our blind surgeons could operate. This was the only time we closed and it was for 1/2 day.   Please investigate your facts before running your mouth.  I have never prescribed Rufenal in my career. Our government spins simple infractions like it is a major drug crime.   I heard of one nurse who had a prescription for Motrin (which is nothing more than 2 ibuprofens).   She gave one to a friend with a headache and was tried as a "dope dealer"  Our government is not solving our real drug problems, but spins simple infractions as a major dope bust.  There is nothing wrong with 170 prescriptions per day for Viagra, which I only have to see the answer to 4 questions, and I just look at the pattern to see if it looks right.   What I did was in the best interest of the patients, not the doctors.  I gave a free doctor visit with no 2 hour wait in the waiting room, for just 2 medications.   Whomever is making these comments is believing the government lies, and spreading nonsense.   I did not buy my way out of anything.   Anyone wanting to discuss this with me, my cell phone number (which was on every prescription I wrote) is 706 577 6008  Everyone of my patients gets my personal cell phone number.

D. Stephen Holllis, MD

1100 S. College St. Ste. 108

Auburn, Alabama 36832


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My email address is

I would like to be consulted before anything about me is 

misintepreted again.

D. Stephen Hollis, MD, I am available

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I have a stack of papers from Emory showing where you over corrected my eyes. I will never be able to just put on a pair of glasses again. You even admitted to me that if you had left off at the first cuts, I would have been alright. I am wearing scleral lenses because the regular gas permeable lenses did not allow me to even walk outside on a windy day. I am facing corneal transplants. I have to make a trip every 6 monts to the eye doctor at Emory to make sure that my eyes have not gotten worse and that the contacts are still keeping my cornea stable. The thing is you do not take responsibility for your actions. You seem to have a reason for what you have done. You are one doctor that I would have sued in a heartbeat but there is a statute of limitations of two years. I could not tell because my eyes got worse over time. I don't see how you get up and look at your self in the mirror each morning. I may not be able to sue, but I hope I save one person from making the same mistake that I made.

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I am patient of Dr. Hollis. I had 20/50 vision had LASIK done the next day I was 20/15. He is a good man and I would recommend him to anybody, don't believe everything you read. He will gladly talk about it with you,,,,,,

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Thanks for your comment. As a patient of Dr. Hollis, you might be interested in the three-part interview I posted with him. The first part is here.

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BEWARE: yes This Doctor has had successful procedures, and yes he wrote a nice rebuttal to this piece, BUT my mother has had to go back THREE times now because he botched her first surgery. After she was diagnosed by another ophthalmologist as having "debris under her cornea" he asked who had performed the procedure and when she told him Dr Hollis he immediately said I can no longer help you, my only suggestion is that you go back to him and possible see an attorney. The staff at Hollis office is like Jekyll/ Hyde or something out of Norwegian folklore. Those women are evil with no compassion when my mother has called in major pain over a week after the procedure. JUST BEWARE! How many other Ophthalmologists have this many "issues" and have to explain themselves on review sites. If you value your vision then find another Dr cause your just a number /$$ to these people.

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James, I wanted to respond to your story because I am in the same perdicament. I also had lasik surgery by this man, I really can't even refer to him as a doctor. I have been trying to get all my information together in order to present it to an attorney. I have permanent damage. Has your mother consulted an attorney and what has she been told. This bastard does not need to blind anyone else.! I would like to talk to you or your mother. look forward to hearing from you. My e-mail
address is

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This man ruined my eyes. The only way that I can function anymore is by wear scleral lenses. Hollis did RK on me and even admitted that he had left off at the first cuts that I would have been ok. He said, Oh I can fix the right eye and did lasik on top of the RK. I would not even use the word Doctor in the same sentence with his name. I now have to go to Emory to be fitted with contacts since my eyes are so hard to fit. There is a special place for this person

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I recently had corrective surgery, October 4, 2016. I really, really wish that I had of checked this guy out before I had this done. I did ask around to several friends, family and work acquaintances before going ahead with it. They all recommended Dr. Hollis. The day of my procedure there was 3 others ahead of me, they went in and walked out reading, GREAT, I thought.... it was now my turn... I went in, the procedure was performed and I walked out and had to be led by the hand to our truck and mind you it was already dark... I could not stand the light at all and sure as heck could not read anything... we went to dinner and my husband had to cut my steak up for me and I sat in the middle of Longhorns steak house, in dim lights with the darkest sunglasses I could find on... I was later in the night before I could even hold my eyes open. The next morning when I went back for my checkup, and I was getting any of the letters right in the little eye test they do I was assured that my eyesight was great!!!. Its now been almost 2 months and my vision is NOT great and almost time for my next checkup and now I am calling trying to verify the checkup date and time and guess what??? THE PHONE NUMBER SAYS IT IS TEMPORALILY DISCONNECTED!!! may be its divine intervention... I only wish I had got this intervention before I had surgery!!!

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I am having a similar experience. I had my procedure at the end of July. I was due for my follow-up appointment tomorrow, but they aren't answering their phones. My vision is a lot better than it used to be, but it is not what it should be. I still need a touch up. Needless to say, I am very frustrated and dissapointed. If he was going to shut down his practice, it would have been nice for them to notify the patience and refer us to someone who would be accepting us. Right now I'm looking at the possibility of wearing glasses again.

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Just wanted to check and see if you were ever able to contact this Doctor and be seen for your appointment. I called the Chamber of Commerce today. The lady told me that she knew his office had shut down back in the summer and was unaware that he had reopened. I also have the number to the Better Business Bureau and I plan to call them tomorrow.

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My husband and his cousin both had the lasik on the same day. At 34 the cousin had worn glasses all of his adult life and at 43 my husband had only started wearing glasses a year earlier. As we walk out of the office, the cousin was in awe of what all he could see, although his vision was blurry he could tell a difference immediately. My husband however did not have the same experience. He thinks he moved his eye during the surgery. He has been back for 2 or 3 touch ups in the two years since the surgery. On one touch up it was determined that the flap of his cornea had gotten folded under and did not heal properly. I think this was corrected by Dr Hollis but his vision is not good and he is now looking to either have surgery again or what his other options are. I let his cousin do the research initially so I did not ever see any of these reviews. If I would have I might not have let him go through with it even though his cousin had good results.

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Dr Hollis did surgery on my wife’s eyes several years ago and she has never had any problems since. She has recommend many people to him that ended up using him also and had had perfect ever since he performed the surgeries. I think je is a great doctor.

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It’s sad about all the negative things people said about this Great Doctor even after his death in 2017.


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