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Tucson OB/GYN doctor surrenders license to practice for misconduct

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A Tucson obstetrician/gynecologist, accused of misconduct that led to a newborn’s death and put two other patients at risk in separate cases, can no longer practice medicine in Arizona, state records show.

Dr. Cynthia G. Funckes, 67, agreed Friday to surrender her license to the Arizona Medical Board after a board review substantiated three cases in which patients received inferior medical care.

Funckes has practiced in Sierra Vista, Willcox and Tucson over the 22 years she has been licensed in Arizona, records show. The board website lists past affiliations with two local medical practices, Harmony OB/GYN and Genesis OB/GYN.

The board opened its investigation last year in response to a complaint that a woman and her baby received “improper care and treatment resulting in neonatal death,” at an unnamed area hospital.

The board’s case is laid out in a seven-page ruling posted to its public website.

The ruling said the mother, age 26, was past due when given drugs to induce labor, but two days later still had not given birth. A fetal heartbeat monitor attached to the unborn child’s scalp showed the baby’s heart beat at around 80 beats per minute, far below the 110 to 160 beats recommended by international guidelines.

After the scalp monitor was deemed malfunctioning, a nurse switched to a hand-held ultrasound unit that indicated the heartbeat was in the 90s, the board ruling said.

Funckes decided to help pull out the baby with a vacuum device attached to its head. But the device came loose after a few pulls, and a fetal heartbeat could not be found.

When the baby was delivered by Cesarean section, the doctor found a knot in its umbilical cord. The baby was deemed to have died of a “massive pulmonary hemorrhage.”

Funckes denied wrongdoing. The board said she failed to ensure the baby’s heartbeat was properly monitored and that her actions “constitute unprofessional conduct.”

Board investigators found two other cases in which women were put at risk.

In one, Funckes tried to perform a procedure on a patient with endometrial cancer that could have made it more difficult to determine how advanced the cancer was.

In the other, she induced labor on an elective basis for a 22-year-old woman whose pregnancy was not at full term. The woman was put at increased risk of infection and bleeding, the ruling said.

Funckes’ Tucson attorney, Dan Cavett, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

More: What you missed this week in notable Tucson crimes and court cases 

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or On Twitter: @AZStarConsumer

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