Woman’s Mystery Pain? Oops. Surgical Tool Was Left Inside Her for 3 Months

michelle-doig-collins

Michelle Doig-Collins

Last April a woman in Rancho Santa Margarita California checked into an Orange County surgery center for a routine gynecological procedure. The courts have now marked that date on the calendar, because that’s when the lady’s personal medical nightmare started.

 

Michelle Doig-Collins is the patient’s name, and she regrets having kept that particular appointment. It involved a tubal ligation. Michelle is a mother of 3 and she kept wondering why she wasn’t feeling better in the days and weeks after surgery. In fact, she was feeling a whole lot worse.

“I was nauseous, had heavy cramping, heavy pain,” she remembers.

So she went to see her doctor, who performed a pelvic exam. And then she went again. And then she went again. She was told she had a vaginal infection and was prescribed antibiotics. Faulty, incomplete exam. Wrong diagnosis. Wrong drugs.

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Sample x-ray

 

Not long after, when she went to the bathroom, she was horrified when the tissue paper got stuck on the tip of a metal probe inside her. Her husband drove her quickly to the closest emergency room and that was where the mystery ended. Michelle finally had an explanation for her agony. An x-ray revealed that, yes indeed, a surgical instrument used in her procedure had been left inside her.

“How did no one see this? But I can tell you from experience that it’s not that rare.”  (Medical malpractice attorney Jeffery Greenman)

According to multiple studies on the subject, the best guesses are that 12 Americans every day are discharged from the hospital with a surgical item left inside them. That’s about 4,000 patients a year.

surgical-items-art

“She very well could have died. She could have got sepsis or some other horrible infection that didn’t go away,” Greenman said. Greenman, who is representing Michelle, is investigating exactly how this happened, and why it wasn’t discovered during postoperative exams by her doctor.

“I had this thing in me for 11 weeks,” Michelle said.

For more on the subject, take a peek at this article:

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-fresno-hospital-fined-towel-20160129-story.html

Meanwhile . . . One Year Ago Today

This kind of garbage-level ‘healthcare’ in the U.S. has been going on for 150 years 

Dr Stephen Schneider & wife Linda

A Wichita-area MD and his wife were each reissued long prison sentences last week for their convictions in a wealth-building scam that resulted in at least 68 narcotic overdose deaths. The original trial occurred in 2010. At the end of the case, U.S. District Judge Monti Belot said this:

“Even here today, I don’t think you appreciate all the harm you caused. The deaths, addictions, all to get money. If there was any decent medical care, it pales in comparison.”

Doctor Stephen Schneider, now age 62 and his wife, Linda, age 57, pleaded for mercy as the judge reassessed their original sentences. The re-sentencing was necessary because the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in a similar case last year that a victim’s drug use must be the actual cause of death to impose the harshest punishments on physicians, under the Controlled Substances Act. Because of that ruling, Judge Belot dismissed several of the couple’s original convictions in June.

The judge agreed with the prosecution by once again sentencing the doctor to 30 years in prison and his wife, who functioned as their clinic’s business manager, to 33 years. The same punishment was imposed after the couple was convicted in 2010 of Healthcare Fraud Conspiracy resulting in deaths, Illegal Drug Prescribing, Healthcare Fraud and Money-laundering.

The couple’s clinic in the Wichita suburb of Haysville had seeing as many as 2,000 people per month – many already known to law enforcement and other clinics as drug addicts.

dr-drug-pill-head

Schneider and his wife had argued that they helped those in chronic pain and would see up to 100 patients a day. But investigators proved that the doctor spent almost no time with his so-called ‘patients’; did almost no physical assessments; kept inconsistent, or in some cases no medical records. They learned that Schneider was in the habit of leaving pre-signed prescription notes for staff to hand out when he was not even present in the clinic. Many so-called patients told police it was well-known in the community as “the place to go” for easy drugs.

“It is almost impossible for me to overstate the harm that these people caused to their community,” Judge Belot said. “Sure they are sorry here today. But it is what they did then that counts most.”

Here’s some background on the Schneiders:

Surgeon Confesses That He Lied to Cover for an Incompetent Doctor

dr-lars-aanning

Dr. Lars Aanning, seen at his home outside Yankton, S.D., said he lied to protect a colleague in a malpractice case. Now, Aanning is a patient safety advocate.

A surgeon who lied about his partner’s skills on the witness stand has been haunted by the deception for nearly two decades.

Readers: We do not normally cut and paste other stories. We almost always investigate, then write our own assessment of a case. However here, we make an exception, for a story that perfectly addresses a point we strive to make:

Almost two decades ago Doctor Lars Aanning sat on the witness stand in a medical malpractice trial and faced a dilemma.

The South Dakota surgeon had been called to vouch for the expertise of one of his partners whose patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability after an operation. The problem was Aanning had, in his own mind, questioned his colleague’s skill. His partner’s patients had suffered injuries related to his procedures. But Aanning understood why his partner’s attorney had called him as a witness: Doctors don’t squeal on doctors.

“No, never,” Aanning said.

Now, Aanning, in a stunning admission for a medical professional, has a blunter answer: “I lied.”

While it’s impossible to know to what extent Aanning’s testimony influenced the outcome, the jury sided in favor of his colleague — and, ever since, Aanning said, he has felt haunted by his decision. Now, 77 and retired, he decided to write about his choice and why he made it in a recent column for his local newspaper, The Yankton County Observer. He also posted the article in the ProPublica Patient Safety Facebook group. Aanning, who is a member, called it, “A Surgeon’s Belated Confession.”

“From that very moment I knew I had lied — lied under oath — and violated all my pledges of professionalism that came with the Doctor of Medicine degree and membership in the [American Medical Association],” Aanning wrote.

Aanning, who has become an outspoken patient advocate, now assists the medical malpractice attorney who represented the patient in the case in which he lied for his partner.

There’s no way to tell how often doctors to lie to protect their colleagues, but ProPublica has found that patients are frequently not told the truth when they are harmed. Studies also show that many physicians do not have a favorable view of informing patients about mistakes and that health care workers are afraid to speak up if things don’t seem right. Many doctors and nurses have told ProPublica that they fear retaliation if they speak out about patient safety problems.

ProPublica spoke to Aanning about his unusual column and why he decided to confess all these years later. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Why did you tell the lie?

I did it as a matter of course. And I did it because there was a cultural attitude I was immersed in: You viewed all attorneys as a threat and anything that you did was OK to thwart their efforts to sue your colleagues. I just accepted that as normal. It wasn’t like, “I’m going to lie.” It was, “I’m going to support my colleague.”

Did you feel pressure from your peers to never criticize a colleague?

Pressure is the prevailing attitude of the medical profession. The professional societies like the AMA and the American College of Surgeons say you should be a patient advocate at all times. But that goes out the window because here you are, banding together with your peers. Because if you don’t, you’ll be like a man without a country.

Why are you telling the truth now?

I’m retired now. The big benefit is they can’t hurt me, but I can’t go to the clinic for any help. All my doctors are out of town. I came to America from Norway in ‘47 and grew up in New York. I’ve always been a rabble rouser. This testifying falsely at this trial was not like me, so it stands out. It’s not how I do stuff.

I also told the truth about my lie because I have been helping some of these plaintiffs’ lawyers with their cases. It seems that the courtroom is not the arena for adjudication of medical right or wrong. I shared my story to give an explicit example of why you can’t always rely on physician testimony in court. I think that’s the big reason. There’s got to be a different way to help people who have been medically harmed. Looking to the legal system is like mixing oil and water.

Do you feel like it’s your fault the patient lost the case?

I haven’t touched on that question. It would make it painful for me. I would be moved to tears if that whole case revolved around just my testimony. I was on the stand so briefly. But cumulatively between what I said and the other testimony — it was never a level playing field for the plaintiff. People don’t recognize it. How the judges don’t recognize it and the system doesn’t recognize it is beyond me. It’s something I’m coming to grips with.

Have you thought about talking to the patient’s family?

The attorney said something about meeting the patient’s widow in his office, or something like that. I worry about whether my testimony weighed on the final verdict or not. It’s something that you just have to face up to. It’s too late to deflect it.

Do you feel any better or worse now that you’ve gone public with your moral failure?

I’m not altruistic. I’m not a crusader. I got into writing this column accidentally so I just kind of find myself in this position. I get a great satisfaction out of defining what I see and writing about it. I hope nobody’s going to come back at me and accuse me of bad conduct. Although that’s what it was. I felt bad about it.

(We are indebted to ProPublica Investigative Reporter Marshall Allen for this terrific – and important – story)

_________________

Worst Doctors of 2015? Nothing for America to be Proud of

Dear Mr. McDonald:

Your readers may be interested in an article I wrote last January. Would you mind posting it on your Medical Miscreant website? (Tom Emerick)

doctor-handcuffsHappy to, Tom. Thank you so much for the work you do. We happen to believe articles such as yours save lives. How do they do this? By keeping the citizenry just a hair more alert than they might be otherwise.

And here it is:

This list of worst doctors came to me via email, and I thought it was too good not to post. The origin of this is a Medscape article written by Lisa Pevtzow, Deborah Flapan, Fredy Perojo and Darbe Rotach. Please read the Medscape article in full. It’s a gem. The Medscape article shows pictures of these offenders.

firearms-vs-health-care-deaths

Here is a summary of the “worst” doctors:

1) In July Farid Fata, MD, was sentenced to 45 years in prison in Detroit for administering excessive or unnecessary chemotherapy to 543 patients. Some of them he deliberately misdiagnosed with cancer.

dr-fata-and-cancer-patient

Farid Fata was a walking, talking monster in a lab coat. And the USA imports them by the hundreds.

In addition to enduring needless chemotherapy, the patients suffered anguish at the possibility of death. The massive criminal scheme netted at least $17,000,000 from Medicare and private insurers.

 

2) Ophthalmologist David Ming Pon, MD, was found guilty in October of cheating Medicare by pretending to perform procedures on patients who did not need them.

dr-david-ming-pon

Dr David Ming Pon: Think all drug-pushers stand on street corners wearing hoodies?

A federal jury convicted Dr. Pon on 20 counts of healthcare fraud. The scam netted Dr. Pon more than $7,000,000, according to the Department of Justice.

3) Joseph Mogan III, MD, was sentenced to 8 years in prison in March for operating two “pill mills” in suburban New Orleans. He gave out illegal prescriptions for narcotics and other controlled substances on a cash-and-carry basis. Dr. Mogan might have received a longer sentence had he not previously testified against a former New Orleans police officer who gave advice on how to operate under the radar of law enforcement. Prosecutors said the officer helped Dr. Mogan and his co-operator, Tiffany Miller, because Miller provided sexual favors and thousands of dollars in cash.

4) Dr. Aria Sabit pleaded guilty in a federal district court in Detroit in May to conspiring to receive kickbacks from a medical technology company. In 2010, Apex Medical Technologies,

dr-aria-sabit

“This criminal doctor enriched himself by performing unnecessary, invasive spinal surgeries and implanting costly and unnecessary medical devices, all at the expense of his patients’ health and welfare.” (Assistant Attorney General Leslie R Caldwell) 

which distributes spinal surgery instruments, told the surgeon that, if he invested $5,000 in the company and used its hardware, he would share in the revenue. Ultimately, he received $439,000 from his investment. Dr. Sabit also pleaded guilty to stealing $11,000,000 in insurance proceeds after billing Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers.

5) A Virginia jury awarded a patient $500,000 in June after an anesthesiologist made mocking and derogatory comments, which the patient accidentally recorded on a cellphone while he was sedated. The case inflamed the public after the Washington Post reported the story. The recording captured anesthesiologist Tiffany Ingham, MD, commenting on the patient’s penis and making fun of him. The surgical team also entered a fake diagnosis of hemorrhoids into his medical record.

6) A former researcher at Iowa State University was sentenced to 57 months in prison in July for systematically falsifying data to make an experimental HIV vaccine look effective. The researcher, Dong Pyou Han, PhD, was supposed to inject rabbits with a vaccine and test their sera for HIV antibodies. Dr. Han not only gave the head of the lab false test results about the vaccine, but he also injected the rabbits with human antibodies.

dr-arthur-zilberstein

“Of course I send text messages during surgeries. Doesn’t everybody?”

7) The Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission suspended the license of Arthur Zilberstein, MD, in June for sexting from the operating room. The commission said Dr. Zilberstein “compromised patient safety due to his preoccupation with sexual matters” during surgery. He was charged with exchanging sexually explicit texts during surgeries when he was the responsible anesthesiologist, improperly accessing medical-record imaging for sexual gratification and having sexual encounters in his office.

8) An Ohio cardiologist was convicted in September of billing Medicare and other insurers for $7,200,00 in unnecessary tests and procedures. Dr. Harold Persaud put lives at risk by performing stent insertions, catheterizations, imaging tests and referrals for coronary artery bypass graft surgery that were not

dr-harold-persaud

“Americans. They’re so bloody easy to abuse.”

medically warranted, according to prosecutors.

And there you have it, readers. Have a terrific weekend.

(Artwork inserted by Medical Miscreants)

Doctors: Still Think They’re Smarter Than You Are?

dog-x-ray-2

You’ll kindly note the tail

So which do you think is better news: That a physician wouldn’t notice the tail, or  that he sees it and pretends he doesn’t?

A Southern California physician has been convicted of being an illegal drug-pusher, operating  his Los Angeles-area clinic as a “pill mill”.

Last Tuesday a superior court jury found Doctor Richard S. Kim, a resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, guilty of 17 felonies, for illegally prescribing drugs for no legitimate medical reason.

During the trial the prosecution was able to prove that Kim, age 44,  was routinely writing prescriptions for heavy narcotics – Norco, Xanax, Soma and Adderall – without performing patient histories, creating medical records or performing physical exams, on thousands of walk-in “patients”.

“Kim operated an unusual practice. He had no staff. Patients would call or send him a text message. He would unlock his office door and let them in.” (The prosecution)

Prosecutors revealed that Kim would often have customers bring their own medical charts and X-rays to his one-man clinic. The jury needed very little time to come to a guilty verdict, after having viewed an undercover agent’s X-ray of his dog as “proof” of his medical problem.

“You can actually see the dog’s tail in the X-ray.” (Deputy D.A. John Niedermann of the Major Narcotics Division)

Kim, who had been free on $100,000 bail, was handcuffed immediately and taken to Los Angeles County Jail after the verdict was read. His possible sentence could be 12 years.

This particular stethoscope schemer is scheduled to be sentenced September 30.

dr-richard-s-kim

Incidentally, if you happen to be a patient of Robert Kim MD, don’t bother showing up at his clinic. The doctor isn’t in.

Here’s another look at this doctor dirt-bag:

http://patch.com/california/palosverdes/rancho-palos-verdes-doctor-convicted-prescription-drug-case

Doctors of Bad Character: The Jaw-dropping Numbers Can’t be Ignored

To Our Readers:

We thought it might be prudent to open our files. So for your information, here is our most recent compilation of punished practitioners. It is our sincere hope that YOUR care provider is not among the list.

(NOTE: Names listed with an asterisk mean they were expelled from practice prior to January, 2012. For more information about a practitioner’s disciplinary history, click on the date highlighted in gold. To determine whether a practitioner has been previously disciplined, click on this link for the List of Previously Disciplined Practitioners.)

Rules for Professional Conduct (2000), (PDF)
Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct (2008), (PDF)
Professional Conduct for Immigration Practitioners – Factsheet (PDF)

As we have stated repeatedly over the past 10 years, these files underscore an ugly but undeniable fact:

NO OTHER group of professionals steals more money; pilfers more programs; injures and kills more citizens, than the errant physician population.

So we strongly suggest you learn all you can about your healthcare provider. And your research starts right here.

Oh, Doctor! Why Do You Keep Stepping into Deep Doggy Doo-doo?

What the heck did  this one do?

dr-robert-van-boven

The Texas State Medical Board has decided to “restrict” the medical license of one Doctor Robert Wayne Van Boven. He was a staff member at Lakeway Regional Medical Center until he was fired last year, according to a hospital spokeswoman. 

Van Boven is also a neurologist at the Brain & Body Health Institute in the city of Lakeway. The board learned that horn-dog Van Boven was routinely engaging in highly inappropriate sexual behavior and making nasty comments to female patients. They say this particular misbehavior happened in April and May, 2015, and they believe both patients’ statements are credible. They found considerable similarity in what the women say happened to them.

“The final review will demonstrate that this was based on egregious false facts, financial and other improper motives,” he said. “I pray that truth will prevail.” (Van Boven in a statement)

(Note to doc: When one attempts to persuade others, a brighter effort is to anchor your statements in a foundation of logic. Here’s a hint: there exists no such thing in the universe  as “false facts.” Wise up)

This isn’t the first time the stethoscope snollygoster has stepped into deep doctor doo-doo. According to Lakeway Police Department, their officers were sent out to his house in 2008 and again in 2013 for domestic disputes. And he was involved in 2 separate cases of Criminal Trespassing in 2015.

Oh. Almost forgot. This med school graduate can’t seem to master how to drive a car on public streets. He’s accumulated 8 traffic citations and has been stopped 16 other times while behind the wheel, when he should have been handcuffed – but wasn’t.

According to the Texas Medical Board, the restriction they placed on Van Boven “prohibits him from seeing, examining, treating, prescribing or otherwise practicing medicine on female patients.”

Our question is this: Why is this character allowed the privilege of touching anybody?

Of the 77,000 licensed physicians in Texas, the Texas Medical Board reports they bring an average of 300 disciplinary actions against doctors annually. They say 40-50 lose their licenses.

But this one hasn’t lost his yet. Stay tuned.

Here’s another look:

http://www.ooyuz.com/geturl?aid=10649147