In a case which literally screams out the reason for this website, a New York physician was once convicted of cutting his initials into the abdomen of a patient, following the delivery of her baby.
And if any aspect of this story is more insane than the act itself, it is the fact that Doctor Allan Zarkin would serve not one week in prison. He would instead be – unbelievably – sentenced to probation, as the result of a plea bargain.
The indisputable facts of the case are these:
> After performing a Caesarean section on a pregnant woman at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, the egomaniacal Zarkin shocked the nurses in the room by literally using his scalpel to carve a large “A Z” into the abdomen of the patient lying before him.
> The patient happened to be a doctor herself, 31-year-old Liana Gedz, a dentist friend of Zarkin.
> According to New York State Department of Health investigators, Zarkin’s penchant for juvenile delinquency was well-known, because his coworkers had witnessed his habit of making strange, sexual comments as he performed surgeries on women.
> The District Attorney’s office had received complaints about him for at least seven years. Two dozen women, in fact – patients, doctors and nurses – contacted them, reporting incidents they described as “bizarre,” “dangerous” and “weird.”
According to Linda Fairstein of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit, “So far we’ve received about 24 complaints on Zarkin.”
> Zarkin was indicted in February, 2000 and could have gotten a 25-year sentence if convicted of first-degree assault, the most serious charge.
> He was convicted of lesser crimes and sentenced to five years probation.
> His license to treat patients was then revoked by the state health department.
> Beth Israel Medical Center was fined $14,000 for numerous violations, including faiure to properly report Zarkin as required by law after the incident, and failing to properly supervise him after knowing that his behavior was unprofessional.
> Doctor Liana Gedz, the victim of the assault, was awarded $1,750,000 by Zarkin’s malpractice insurance company, after suing Zarkin for $5,000,000. She would require several surgeries to repair the scars on her stomach.
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The criticism from MedicalMiscreants is based on the preposterous fact that madman Zarkin was allowed to continue to treat people for four months after carving “A Z” into the flesh of a helpless patient.
Beth Israel, for its part, insists it followed protocols and suspended Zarkin after an investigation, and that they reported to the state Health Department that the doctor had engaged in “grossly inappropriate conduct.” (Zarkin was suspended from the hospital after a brief investigation and resigned)
But our research reveals that Beth Israel’s report to the state oversight people was vague, and in fact not nearly specific enough to raise any sense of alarm. The hospital’s report did not even mention what Zarkin had done to Dr. Gedz. And, in keeping with the typical lab-coat wall of silence that permeates U.S. health care, the cosmetic surgeon who examined Dr. Gedz after the attack made no written or verbal report of the carved initials at all.
Kristin Smith, a spokeswoman for the New York State Health Department, put it this way. “What is fair to say, is that had we known the specific circumstances, we would have moved much more quickly to stop Zarkin from hurting innocent patients.”
So Zarkin was stopped, but the medical mania continues unabated by thousands upon thousands of other degreed nutcases who ought to be weeded out of the medical garden, but won’t.
In the 12 years since, more than 410 daffy doctors have been convicted on a jaw-dropping range of lunacy, in the city of New York alone – a whopping 11,230 physicians nationwide, in a little more than a decade. So much garbage behavior is going on, in fact, that ethical medical professionals have a hard time keeping up with all the shenanigans of their freaky peers. But within the sequestered halls of health care, nurses and doctors, techs, medics and ethicists, have no trouble at all recalling Allan Zarkin MD, who is now 74 years old.
They simply refer to him as “Doctor Zorro.”
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