Channel 9 questions VA doctor about accusations of being under the influence while seeing patient

SALISBURY, NC — Channel 9 questioned a former doctor at the Salisbury Veteran’s Affair Medical Center about accusations he was under the influence while seeing a patient.

Channel 9 recently reported that Gregory Earl Scott was caught intoxicated after seeing a patient Dec. 13.

The center officials later recommended Scott be fired.

Eyewitness News anchor John Paul tracked down Scott outside the Rowan County Courthouse on Thursday. He's charged with being intoxicated and disruptive and resisting an officer.

Scott didn’t have much to say.

Before walking into the court, he told Channel 9, “It’s all under litigation.”

He said “No” after Paul asked him if he ever saw patients under the influence.

[Police incident report]

[Response from Veteran's Affair]

According to the state medical board, on Jan. 5, Scott surrendered his medical license and no longer works for the VA.

John Paul asked, “Why did you surrender your license?”

Scott didn’t respond.

Scott had been employed as a neurologist since 1997.

After a Freedom of Information Act request, Channel 9 obtained a heavily redacted VA police report about the incident.

The report said they were contacted by the Rowan County Sheriff's Office about a road rage incident where a man pointed a gun at someone.

Scott denied pointing a gun at someone.

The vehicle involved was found in the VA parking lot and belonged to Scott.

A VA officer tracked him down and asked about the incident. Scott claimed he pointed his glasses case at the person.

Officers noted, "There was a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming off his body."

Officers searched Scott’s car and found beer, vodka bottles and a hunting knife, but no gun.

Scott consented to an alcohol test, which confirmed he had been drinking.

We also obtained a memo that confirmed Scott had seen a patient earlier in the day.

Channel 9 knocked on Scott’s door in Salisbury to get a comment, but he did not answer the door.

Multiple phone calls to Scott were not returned.

Weeks after surrendering his medical license, Scott was arrested for disorderly conduct on Jan. 19 after a police report said, “He appeared intoxicated and yelled obscenities at officers.”

Channel 9 learned that dozens of employees have been disciplined or fired recently at the Salisbury VA.

We found out there was an 86 percent increase in employee incidents from 2016 to 2017, from abuse of patients to sleeping on duty and drinking.

Channel 9 took our findings to North Carolina U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger's office.

"Incredible,” Pittenger said. “They've been able to do whatever they wanted to do because it's been a protection of employees.”

Pittenger’s assistant’s desk is covered in files representing nearly 500 pending cases against the VA.

Pittenger said that now that a light is being shown on the Salisbury Medical Center, veterans should rest a little easier and that the main focus will be on their care.

“This isn't about jobs, this is about people. This is about their lives," Pittenger said.

After court, Scott went into his attorney's office to avoid any more questions.