Anatomy of a Self-inflicted Tragedy: Healthcare at it’s Worst

“. . . some staff referred to Patel as “Doctor E. coli” because so many patients developed infections related to his sloppy work.”

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Nearly as soon as Jayant Patel became licensed as a physician, his colleagues noticed that his medical skills were seriously suspect. The fellow stumbled through even simple medical procedures like an amateur.

Dr Jayant Patel and wife walking to court in Australia

Dr Jayant Patel and wife walking to court in Australia

Many wondered aloud how he could have possibly made it through medical school, let alone surgical residency. The rumors spread from operating rooms to hospital hallways and beyond – the man was grossly incompetent and surgically dangerous. A few of his colleagues filed reports of their worries, but in the Twilight Zone of healthcare, most people do nothing at all about bad seeds in their midst – regardless of how many patients they kill – and Patel’s case was no exception. The man was an Indian-born Third World Assassin, and doctors and nurses around him simply laughed at his bumblings . . . for years.

Because in the corridors of medicine – that’s what most of us do. And as a 30-year Paramedic, I can promise you my colleagues in EMS are as guilty of lab coat silence as anybody else in healthcare.

Eventually though, Patel’s reputation as a surgical hack ignited a reluctant investigation by Oregon state medical authorities, back in the year 2000, which resulted in Patel’s medical license to be “restricted.” Mind you, they didn’t revoke his license (like authorities would a bus driver or pretty much any other professional who injured and killed people). That was unthinkable by a medical board which is, after all, made up of – now hold your ponies on this concept – doctors. They simply told him there were certain medical procedures he wouldn’t be allowed to do in their state.  So Patel did what MDs have learned to do all over the U.S. for decades: he pulled a ‘Bonnie & Clyde’.  He crossed state lines, moved to New York and started over.

How cool is that?

Im a surgeon art

However, Patel would learn that one can run from authority – but not from his own incompetence. And it wasn’t long before medical authorities in his brand new state noticed that – surprise, surprise – this miscreant had no business whatsoever practicing medicine. They demanded that he turn in his medical license. But like pretty much every other state board, they did nothing about the little fact that he was maiming and killing people. The very last thing they wanted to do was warn the public of the monster in their midst. After all, it wasn’t like he was a mere mortal. The man happened to be – hold your ponies again – a doctor. So he was simply labeled “Professionally Incompetent” and that was it.

Time to pull another Bonnie & Clyde.

So Patel left the United States to start all over in Australia – a 10,000 mile dash to a fresh clean start and away from those pesky Americans who had the nerve to get frisky when he killed people. He had no problem at all getting hired by Queensland Health, of course. One of the advantages of being a physician is that people are so impressed with the MD after your name that they stop thinking logically: like doing a serious background check. In Australia healthcare is managed by each state, which in this case is Queensland. So this stumbling, bumbling fool was hired as the surgical director at Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Oh, there’s more.

Within 60 days, Nurse Toni Hoffman voiced concern that the new doctor repeatedly exhibited sloppy surgical habits. But like nurses across America, Ms. Hoffman in Australia was ignored too. So it took 2 years before the government-run hospital began an investigation after her complaints reached the Queensland Parliament in 2005.

Raise your hand if you have ever heard of a murderous American MD’s case every reaching the U.S. Congress. We’ll hold.

Before the investigation was completed, Patel fled Australia and headed back to the U.S., where of course he was welcome. The media in Australia discovered that Patel had been banned from performing certain types of surgery in America due to negligence. It took about a year, but the inquiry resulted in warrants issued for Patel’s arrest. He was charged with 16 felonies, including Manslaughter, Grievous Bodily Harm, and Fraud. Law enforcement caught up with Patel in 2008 in the U.S., and the FBI arrested him. He was extradited to Australia to face criminal charges. In 2009, he was arraigned on 13 charges, including 3 charges of killing patients.

In November 2013, Patel pleaded guilty to 4 charges of fraud: 2 counts related to dishonesty and 2 counts related to dishonestly gaining employment in Queensland. In exchange for his plea bargain, the prosecution agreed to drop 9 other charges against him, including 2 counts of killing people and 2 counts of medical negligence.

Imagine what the families of the dead patients thought about their cases being ‘dropped.’

At his sentence hearing, Judge Terence Martin said to Patel, “You calculatedly deceived your way into that position [at Bundaberg Hospital].” He declared that Patel’s unlawful conduct put patients at risk, and added, “I see no indication of, and hear no expression of, your genuine remorse for your offending.” Patel was sentenced to 2 years in prison, which was suspended because of the time he had already served in jail.

28 years had gone by since Patel’s medical competency was first recognized.

Timeline of Incompetence

Here is a brief recap of this loony-tune’s swath of carnage:

1984

Medical authorities criticized Patel on several occasions for failing to properly examine his patients before surgery. Patel is fined $5000 for negligence by a medical committee and is put on probation for 3 years and suspended from practice for 6 months.

1998

Patel is living and practicing in Oregon. The Oregon Board of Medical Examiners launches an investigation after complaints that the doctor had botched numerous operations – 79 patient screw-ups. The Board discovers that at least 3 patients died due to Patel’s gross negligence. One patient died in 1994 after pancreatic surgery by the doctor. One woman died in 1996 after Patel performed pancreatic and colon surgery on her. And 1 patient died in 1997 after Patel performed a colostomy on the patient. The idiot reattached her bowel backwards.

2000

Patel’s Oregon medical license is restricted. He is banned from performing certain types of operations, including liver and pancreatic surgeries. Patel moves to New York to practice surgery.

2001

The New York Board for Professional Medical Conduct pressures Patel to surrender his medical license. They quietly call him ‘incompetent.’

2003

Patel moves to Queensland, Australia. Over a 2-year period, Patel performs numerous complex operations. Medical staff note that many of those procedures were well beyond Patel’s medical expertise. Of the 1,202 patients he treated, it was believed that a minimum of 87 of his patients died due to complications related to his surgeries. He became the butt of jokes around the hospital, with some staff referring to Patel as “Doctor E. coli” because so many patients developed infections related to his sloppy work.

2004

Fluid accumulates around a patient’s heart and needs to be drained. The operation is routine, but Patel stabs his patient multiple times trying to penetrate the chest’s pleural cavity. Patel’s intervention fails and the patient dies the following day. Complaints concerning Patel botching the fluid-draining procedure leads to an investigation that uncovers 90 of Patel’s patients who died shortly after he treated them in Australia as well as the U.S. The same investigation links approximately another 170 cases concerning medical misconduct.

An independent audit by Queensland health officials analyzed 221 patient files and concluded that Patel most likely contributed to the death of 8 patients due to “adverse outcomes after being in Patel’s care.” The report went on to further state that Patel probably caused another 8 of his patient’s deaths, but the evidence proved to be inconclusive.

Patel, now age 65, is an Indian-born physician found guilty in 2010 on three charges of manslaughter and one charge of “causing grievous bodily harm to patients” as director of surgery between 2003-2005 at a hospital in Queensland.

Justice John Byrne in Queensland State Supreme Court sentenced Patel to seven years in prison.

Dr Jayant Patel guilty

How many people should we allow a doctor to kill before we say . . . oops.

This butcher of a surgeon’s final trial happened 25 years after questions were first aired regarding his incompetency. Hundreds of former patients and their families had waited decades to face the man who irreparably damaged their lives.

While in Portland, Patel was employed by Kaiser Permanente, before that organization ordered him to stop performing surgeries in 1998. Kaiser reviewed 78 complaints filed against him. Eventually, Oregon Board of Medical Examiners cited him for “gross or repeated acts of negligence.” (Read The Oregonian’s series about Patel and his work at Kaiser)

Patel was found guilty of killing patients Mervyn John Morris, James Edward Phillips and Gerry Kemps, and the grievous bodily harm of Ian Rodney Vowles.

The jury heard evidence that Patel rushed Gerry Kemps into surgery on his esophagus without proper planning, then failed to spot profuse internal bleeding and stitched up the patient. The 77-year-old died of blood loss.

Morris died after Patel failed to identify the cause of rectal bleeding. In Vowles’ case, Patel found a benign cyst during a colonoscopy and removed the bowel rather than ordering a biopsy. The specimen later showed no sign of cancer.

Here’s another look at this madman:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/doctor-death-jayant-patel-escapes-with-fraud-conviction-and-plans-return-to-work-8957992.html

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Our Observations:

Patel graduated from M P Shah Medical College, Saurashtra University, State of Gujarah, India. He then emigrated to the United States and began legally cutting on unsuspecting patients with no real supervision whatsoever. In America we bow and pray at the alter of medicine regardless of where the practitioner comes from. And even when they kill a long line of patients, we never – EVER – deport them.

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Healthcare Fraud Out of Control: Is Anybody Paying Attention?

SURGEON HANDCUFFS

“Injured workers were treated like livestock by doctors and hospitals who paid or accepted kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referrals.” (Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones)

Pacific Hospital Long Beach

Change the name to College Medical Center; new paint; jail a few admin crooks and presto! It’s like all that crime never happened . . . .

 

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In the city of Long Beach California three physicians and a hospital chief executive have confessed to their underhanded roles in a half-billion dollar kickback scam involving hundreds of patients with back problems.

Another day – another ridiculous, U.S. healthcare embarrassment, eh?

As an example, dozens of patients, who were never told by their own doctors that they were getting scammed, traveled hundreds of miles for medical procedures to Long Beach, when local hospitals near their homes could have performed the operations.

Once they arrived, the scam artists  charged the patients’ insurance payers ten times more for spinal implant hardware than was fair. This resulted in the criminals raking in as much as $15,000 from each back operation.

A crook in a suit named James L. Canedo, the former Pacific Hospital senior finance officer from 1999-2013, as well as a chiropractor and  two orthopedic surgeons, are all changing their “not guilty” pleas to “guilty” in a 15-year criminal scheme that paid unscrupulous doctors to refer their patients to Pacific Hospital, even if the hospital was not the appropriate facility for the specified care. Pacific would then routinely bill either the California Worker’s Compensation program, or the federal government, for millions of dollars a year. In fact, investigators have determined that this ethically bankrupt pack of lab coat hyenas stole nearly $600,000,000, by falsifying billing claims. That, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Canedo, age 63 from San Pedro,  was convicted in early September of Conspiracy that involved money laundering and mail fraud; Paying/ Receiving Kickbacks involving a federal health care program, and Travel Act violations.  He could get a 5-year state prison term.

Dr Mitchell Cohen

Dr Mitchell Cohen

Doctor Mitchell Cohen, an Irvine surgeon, is guilty of False Tax Return violations, by failing to report the illegal income he received. He received $1,600,000 illegally and faces 3 years in state prison.

Doctor Philip Sobol, another surgeon from Studio City, is guilty of Mail Fraud Conspiracy and violations of the Travel Act. Sobol received $5,000,000 in kickbacks and is facing 10 years in prison.

Dr Philip Sobol

Dr Philip Sobol

Doctor Alan Ivar, a Las Vegas chiropractor, is guilty of Mail Fraud Conspiracy, Money laundering and violations of the Travel Act. Ivar got $1,200,000 and can expect a 5-year sentence.

Are any of these idiots your doctor?

Michael D. Drobot, a former Pacific Hospital CEO, confessed to the long-running scam in 2014 and has cooperated with federal investigators, which is how the rest of these characters got caught. Federal prosecutors also report that Paul Richard Randal, a healthcare marketing agent from Orange, confessed to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, in an identical scheme involving Tri-City Regional Medical Center.

Paul Richard Randall

Paul Richard Randall

Randal was affiliated with both Pacific and Tri-City, and admitted he recruited doctors to take cash under the table from Tri-City. He faces a 5-year sentence. Federal prosecutors report their investigation – Operation Spinal Cap – involves dozens of other doctors: surgeons, orthopedic specialists, chiropractors, marketers and other medical professionals.

Funny. You won’t see any mention of this garbage behavior on either hospital’s shiny website. The last thing ‘healthcare’ wants is an educated public.

And these lab coat loons will spend less time behind bars than a street thug who robs a gas station.

The investigation is ongoing, and here’s a bit more:

http://www.presstelegram.com/government-and-politics/20140221/long-beach-pacific-hospital-fraud-called-largest-in-california-history

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Doctors Killing Doctors: Makes Us Proud to be an American

And every time we address a group regarding the astounding volume of physician crime, at least one person in the audience raises a hand to ask, “Why would a paramedic become a ‘heretic’?”

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“This doctor is a new breed of drug trafficker; one who sells blank prescription pads, assault weapons; plots attempted murders, commits arson and distributes diverted prescription pain pills out of his medical office.” (DEA Special Agent James J. Hunt)

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A Long Island heart specialist says he isn’t guilty of conspiring to have another cardiologist killed by a hit-man. Nassau County law enforcement say he’s lying.

Dr Anthony Moschetto

How well do you know YOUR doctor?

Doctor Anthony Moschetto, age 54,  was handcuffed and taken into custody in April, on a whopping 77-count indictment, which includes a Murder-for-Hire plot; Arson, Conspiracy, Criminal Solicitation and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance.

Just what we want in our medical practitioners, right?

According to the prosecution, Moschetto was in the process of arranging for a contract killer to murder a competing doctor – Martin Handler – so he could take over his patients and make more money.

Like many mental midgets, this idiot unknowingly hired a cop instead. Investigators report that Moschetto paid an undercover detective with blank prescriptions sheets, drugs and handguns to do the deed.

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“Dr. Moschetto, by all accounts, was a one-man crime wave.” (WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs)

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“The case of medical miscreant Moschetto  started exactly one year ago, in early December 2014, as a simple investigation into the sale of prescription drugs,” reports Madeline Singas, Nassau County District Attorney. But detectives soon realized things were far more complex, revealing serious probabilities of arson, assault weapons, and a murder plot.

The murder-for-hire scheme was discovered when an undercover officer bought assault weapons and heroin from the shady doctor, who then stupidly mentioned that he needed dynamite to blow up a building.

The prosecution states they can prove that Moschetto directed men to burn down Doctor Martin Handler’s office in Great Neck last February. The clinic was damaged but not destroyed, authorities say.

The two men were caught and arrested in the arson case.

The doctor then paid an undercover officer with blank prescriptions and cash for the assault and  murder, of the other cardiologist, according to the court record, which goes on to state that, “At one point, Doctor Moschetto directed his ‘hit-man’ to assault the victim’s wife, too.”

In a police raid on Moschetto’s Long Island home, investigators discovered a cache of more than 100 weapons, including assault rifles, exotic fighting knives and a hand grenade, according to authorities. Many of the weapons were hidden in a secret basement room, accessible by a ‘James Bondian’ sliding bookshelf.

Over the half-year investigation, undercover agents bought numerous assault weapons; more than 400 Oxycodone pills and 200 bags of heroin from Moschetto, so he set himself up pretty good.

If convicted, this lab coat loon faces  25 years in prison, according to the district attorney.

“Doctors are supposed to ensure the health and wellbeing of people, but Doctor Moschetto is believed to have replaced that responsibility with brazen, callous and criminal acts,” District Attorney Singas said.

Here’s another look at this case:

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Another Drugged-up MD Treating Patients

The Scourge of Modern America  . . .

The Scourge of Modern America . . .

“Over the course of her activities, she went through in excess of 12,000 hydromorphone pills.”  (The court record)

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A drug-addicted family practitioner in Canada faces a prison term as the New Year approaches.

It was one year ago when Doctor Sarah Louise McArthur, age 43, confessed to felony charges of Fraud, Drug Theft and Forgery. And this week federal prosecutor Kathleen Nolan announced her office is encouraging the court to mete out a 5-year prison term.

McArthur, who lived in the city of Cambridge, admitted to the crimes, which took place between 2012-2014 after she stated she became addicted to fentanyl, a powerful medication usually prescribed to cancer patients.

McArthur acknowledged that she stole a blank prescription pad from an exam room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, near Ontario. This enabled her to forge other doctors’ names for prescriptions of hydromorphone as well as  fentanyl – both of which are painkillers. Fentanyl is nearly 100 times more powerful than morphine, and is delivered via slow-release skin patches.

“Over the course of her activities, she went through in excess of 12,000 hydromorphone pills,”  the prosecution said. She took many of the pills herself, and traded many for other drugs.

It is not clear exactly at what point during her heavy  drug use she stopped treating patients, so there is no accurate way to determine how many patients she might have treated while under the influence.  The court record indicates she had promised to stop practicing medicine in 2012. Her attorney, Mark Parrott, stated said she voluntarily agreed to stop treating patients in 2009.

Some of the theft charges are the result of the doctor fraudulently billing Ontario insurance payers for the prescriptions. Even after her first arrest for prescription fraud in January 2012, and while out on bail, McArthur continued falsifying even more  prescriptions.

The doctor’s  guilty plea included Possession of hydromorphone for the purpose of Trafficking; Possession of fentanyl; Fraud; Theft under $5,000 and Creating Falsified Documents.

McArthur is expected to be sentenced in January.

“It’s a very serious set of circumstances,” Justice Gary Hearn said.

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Alaska Doctor ‘Guilty’ in Child Porn Case: U.S. Medicine’s 43rd Such Embarrassment This Year

Dr Greg Salard

Dr Greg Alan Salard

It only took a federal jury less than two hours to convict an Alaskan family doctor on child pornography charges. It wasn’t exactly rocket science to figure out: the perverted physician had tracked his internet footprints all over some pretty disgusting websites.

Doctor Greg Alan Salard, one of only four doctors in the town of Wrangell, was found guilty of Distributing and Receiving Child Pornography. A 12-person jury returned  the verdicts in U.S. District Court after deliberating 90 minutes last summer.

Judge Timothy Burgess presided over the trial, which took place in the Juneau Federal Building.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon, Salard had downloaded nearly 600 files of graphic child images, and his “last viewed” items listed on his computer’s media player before his arrest,  were child pornographic videos.

Salard was arrested at his Wrangell home in October 2014, after FBI website investigators traced illicit activity to Salard’s laptop that had been going on since at least February. Investigators could easily see that the wayward physician had shared more than 100 sexually explicit files of children with others, by utilizing a peer-to-peer, file sharing network. Salard was handcuffed and taken to jail after detectives searched his home and gathered up his laptop computer as evidence. They found that the doctor had just started a program to erase the computer’s hard drive, when officers got to his house.

The physician had been employed by Alaska Island Community Services at Wrangell Medical Center as chief of staff, where he treated both children and adults. Those facilities report he has been terminated.

Salard, a 54 year-old family medicine specialist, will be extradited to Louisiana to face an older Rape charge, after his sentencing in Alaska in December. He could get a 20-year term for each offense, as well as a $250,000 fine.

Here’s more:

http://juneauempire.com/local/2015-04-26/former-wrangell-doctor-hit-third-child-porn-charge

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The Case of Doctor ‘Sneaky Snake’

PYTHON

How do you scare your ex? Well, here’s one way . . . .

 “When a woman teams up with a snake, a moral storm threatens somewhere.” – Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra: A Life

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In the picturesque beach town of Monterey California a physician has been found guilty of Stalking in a goofy, teenage saga that involved a former husband and his girlfriend.

Dr Mary Kay Brewster

Some MDs are classy. Others? Not so much

 

Doctor Mary Kay Brewster, a 58-year-old Ob/Gyn specialist, was convicted on two charges of felony  Stalking; One charge  of felony Vandalism, and Trespassing.

According to the prosecution the stalking began after the doctor and her husband separated. What followed was physician Brewster sending harassing text messages; destroying property at her husband’s place of employment; repeatedly calling his cellphone; poisoning plants; vandalizing his car and physically assaulted him.

The court record also shows the wayward doctor, who lived in Salinas,  broke into the man’s home while he was away and released rats and a large python in the house. Brewster  also stalked her husband’s new girlfriend, a nurse.

Nurse witnesses testified that Doctor Brewster called the nurse a “skank” in front of patients, spattered bodily fluids on her in a surgical suite and created a hostile work environment. The doctor was caught on a security camera crawling under the victim’s  car at 4:30 in the morning.

This particular lab coat loon is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

Here’s another look at this soap opera:

http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/my-safety/2015/11/23/doctor-guilty-stalking-husband/76289378/

Our Observations:

Mary Kay Brewster MD graduated from Dartmouth Medical School in 1993. We’re guessing her alma mater alumni association will think carefully before inviting her to speak at a future commencement ceremony.

On the other hand, in the Twilight Zone of medicine . . . maybe it won’t bother them in the least. After all, you can bet the house that the California State Medical Board won’t be even slightly perturbed that this twit sneaked a snake into somebody’s bedroom.

Never forget: No profession in society is held to a lower standard of discipline than the errant physician population. Here’s what you’d find on this medical muttonhead if you decided to search her California State Medical Board file:

Public Record:

Administrative Disciplinary Actions None found
Court Order None found
Misdemeanor Conviction None found
Probationary License None found
Felony Conviction None found
Malpractice Judgment None found
Hospital Disciplinary Action None found
License Issued with Public Letter of Reprimand (Non-Disciplinary) None found
Administrative Citation Issued None found
Administrative Action Taken by Other State or Federal Government None found
Arbitration Award None found

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