Doctors: Gotta Love Their Freaky Name-Games . . .

Wanna hear something funny?

“You talkin’ to me?”

In our salad days of research on this project we turned our attention to the curious matter of physicians’ names.  This might never have occurred were it not for the early discovery that there are MDs in this country actually named “Doctor.”  Imagine our delight at finding 17 of these curiosities in existence.  Sensing immediately this could be the tip of a comical iceberg, we wanted to determine just how far this freaky Doctor Doctor thing might go.  So we poured a glass of something vino and jumped right in.  By three in the morning we had stumbled upon two dozen doctors with the names “Lance” and “Poke.”  Imagine our glee. Not to be out-shined was another bunch and a half named “Drill,” “Cutter” and “Scope.”  And although we were unable to locate anybody named “Suture” or “Suction,” we roundly cheered the reality of several Doctor “Needles.”  This was going to be fun.

Now, some of these folks have names that their patients in pain should find downright comforting.  If we went to doctors at all, we’d probably choose lads and lassies named “Fix,” “Cure” and “Heal.”  And who wouldn’t?  We thought how neat it would be if these MDs were to hang shingles alongside other caregivers named “Smart,” “Wise” and “Sharp.”  Hard telling how much money they’d rake in.  Surely they would have a clear advantage over the eight degreed amigos named Doctors “Blewitt” and “Croak,” “Butz” and “Klutz.”

And don’t even think we are kidding.

Occasionally a doc’s name bears witness to a particular specialty. We stumbled across an orthopedic surgeon named “Bone” and a skin dude named “Rash.”  Could there be any doubt that Doctor “Couch” is a psychiatrist?  And don’t you just know that Doctor “Gass” was destined to become an anesthesiologist, pretty much from the joy of conception?

Sadly, this Feng Shui of nominative determinism does not hold true for all 800,000 MDs in the country, as God most likely intended.  Maybe that’s why our medical system is in such turmoil – our health care yin & yang is off-center. Unfiltered names of baby doc-gonna-bees. Sad to report the United States has spawned eleven doctors named “Pollen,” “Dust” and “Mold,” and not one of them is an allergist. For that matter, Doctors “Stool,” “Kidney,” “Nose” and “Arms” don’t work in their proper fields either.  Doctor “Blood” toys with other, less-fun parts entirely, and Doctor “Heine” deals with ears, which as far as we’re concerned is just plain wrong.

In closing, keep in mind that Doctor “Flesh,” Doctor “Gore,” Doctor “Achey” and Doctor “Fuss” are all licensed and legal, and ready to play with your body.  And if our little tirade here strikes you as irritating, just trundle on down to the sofas of Doctor “Gripe,” Doctor “Bicker” or Doctor “Looney,” who would just love to hear all about it.


And now, a drum-roll, if you please:

An Allergist worth mentioning – Dr. Aikenhead

Want Anesthesiologists?  – Dr. Tranquilli, Dr. Ether

Need a Heart Specialist?  – Dr. Love, Dr. Fix, Dr. Valentine

Surgeons to cut & paste    – Dr. Gore, Dr. Blades, Dr. Killam Dr. Graves, Dr. Hurt, Dr. Hacker

Dr. Slaughter, Dr. Kutteroff

Obstetrics/Gynecology      – Dr. Lecher, Dr. Beaver, Dr. Storck Dr. Bush, Dr. Wiwi, Dr. Fillerupe

But our all time favorite? No, it isn’t San Francisco Doctor Ella Vader, although she’s close.

It isn’t urologist Doctor Splatt, although he’s closer.

It isn’t the Dentist named Doctor Fang, although he surely could be.

No, the coolest of all is a little kid specialist out there for all to see – a pediatrician:

Doctor Donald Duckles.


(Excerpt from the book, “America’s Dumbest Doctors”)

Have a terrific week, Miscreants readers. And stay vigilant.



Doctors Stepping into Deep Doo-doo? The Books That Started a Movement

For 30 years we kept wondering if anybody would write a book about the various and sundry idiotics of our lab coat brethren. So we waited for someone else to do it. We minded our own business in the world of rescue; responded to countless thousands of 911 calls; witnessed a never-ending soap opera of physician foul-ups, bloops and blunders. And we waited some more. And you know what? Nobody ever did.


There’s “knowing” and “not knowing.” We think knowing is better.

Finally it occurred to us. In spite of the ungodly volume of lab coat lunacy all around, not a single medic nor tech; not a doc, not a lab pro, physical therapist, shrink, surgeon; not an RN, LVN, BSN or any kind of “N” was willing to document in a single tome what we all were witness to 10 times a day – Medical miscreancy by the ton.

Oh, they talk about it. All the time. They just aren’t willing to write it down and, you know, name names.

“Can’t do that. Some of these doctors are downright vindictive. They could get . . . well, pissed.”

So Paramedics would just have to do it. We boys and girls in blue, we brash rogues of rescue, we, the very rare breed of medical folk who literally flee the hallowed halls of healthcare often enough to run around outside and actually breath the fresh air of sanity.

Who else is telling you these things?

Who else is telling you these things?

And so we did.

Doctor vs Doctor ‘Murder by Mercedes’ Case Redux: 13 Years Ago

Dr Clara Harris

Dr Clara Harris

(Clara Harris to her husband): “What makes you so attracted to this woman?”

“Well, she always smiles, makes great conversation. She’s petite and has big breasts. You’re a loud workaholic and you’re fat.”

Hard to imagine why anybody might want to kill this turd in a lab coat.


It was 13 years ago this summer – on July 24, 2002 –  when Doctor Clara Harris learned that her philandering husband David was entertaining his mistress at the Nassau Bay Texas Hilton Hotel. Big mistake.  And because she already knew that her doctor-husband was involved in a long-term affair with a clinic employee, and because she lived not far away, she made the epic decision to drive over there to confront them both.

Bigger mistake.

Court records would later show that Clara Harris entered the hotel with her teenage step-daughter Lindsey and called her husband’s cell phone from the lobby. She knew he was in a bedroom upstairs somewhere. And when he answered the phone he lied by telling her that he was having dinner at a steak house across town. It apparently never occurred to him his wife might be waiting in the lobby.

Dr David L Harris

Dr David L Harris

And we actually trust these people with sharp objects.

Within a few minutes all hell would break loose, as Doctor David Harris and mistress Gail Bridges exited an elevator and Clara attacked the woman. Hotel employees testified later the fight became so violent that the women were rolling around on the floor of the hotel lobby pulling hair and biting. They said Clara literally tore Gail’s blouse off. The teenage daughter of David Harris started beating her father with a handbag and screaming, “I hate you daddy!” over and again. Eventually, hotel security grabbed up the scorned wife and escorted her out of the building.

Now comes Act 2.

Gail Bridges (right)

Gail Bridges (right)

When Harris and his secretary Gail walked out of the hotel, Clara Harris hit the gas pedal on her high-powered Mercedes and clobbered her husband hard enough to slam his body 25 feet across the parking lot, all as her teenage stepdaughter sat in the passenger seat screaming for her to stop. Poor Lindsey Harris went through the horrifying experience of watching her dad disappear under the front end of the car as they ran over her father. David Harris was rushed to the nearest ER with grotesque injuries to his face and chest. He died within minutes. And Doctor Clara Harris was arrested that night for first-degree murder.

Six months later in a Houston courtroom, Lindsey Harris sat in the witness chair, an impossible-to-ignore figure for the prosecution, testifying in a Texas-style “trial of the century” that she had screamed for her mom to stop the car.

(Court testimony of Lindsey Harrris):

“(Dad) pushed Gail out of the way. When Clara drove at them she said, ‘I’m going to hit him.’ (Dad) had his hands up to the front of the car. He yelled ‘stop’ and she didn’t. I didn’t know if she had run over him or if he had gotten away. But she went over the median, circled around and ran over him again.”

Attorney Magness then asked, “How do you know?”

“Because I heard the bump. I yelled, ‘Stop, you’re killing him.’ I could tell when we were going over the big concrete curve and when we were going over my dad, it felt different,'” Lindsey Harris said. “She ran over him the first time, then two more times. A total of three times.”

The words coming from the stepdaughter had a powerful influence on the jury. But even more powerful was an actual videotape of the crime.

Time to pause for a question: Do you STILL believe doctors are smarter than you are? Be sure to consider this little pickle before you answer:

On the day before the incident, Clara Harris had paid serious cash to Blue Moon Investigations, to follow her husband and film his activities. So on the night David Harris met his demise, a lady private investigator sat in a darkened Toyota Camry at the Nassau Bay Hilton and pointed her video camera at the wayward doctor and his mistress, as the two walked across the parking lot toward her car. The video was especially damning in court, as it showed the circling, white Mercedes S-Class 430 sedan careening wildly around the parking lot counter clockwise three times, pulverizing the doctor lying on the pavement.

You see, Clara Harris – in her understandable rage – “forgot” the private investigator she paid for, was tucked outside in the shadows, filming the husband’s every move. And in this bizarre incident, they succeeded in documenting their very wealthy client taking out vengeful rage on her very wealthy husband.

So in the end, not much to anyone’s surprise, Doctor Clara Harris was found guilty of murdering Doctor David Harris. She was sentenced to 20 years in Texas state prison. And on Valentine’s Day – February 14, 2003, she was handcuffed and taken away on her eleventh wedding anniversary.

Dr Clara Harris hears

Dr Clara Harris hears “Guilty” verdict

Now, you may just begin to wonder how often doctors kill their spouses.

Answer? Oh, it happens a lot. And you are certainly on the right website if you’re interested in exactly who they are; how they do it, and when. After all, who else is going to tell you these things?

But this one, we suspect, may have had some measure of poetic justice. David Harris was repeatedly flaunting an affair at the same hotel where his wedding reception was held 10 years before. In Clara’s mind, we’re guessing that was the final straw.

And that is where he fittingly met his end.


A Freaky Physician; an Unconscious Naked Woman and a Camera. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Dr Peter A. Cardinal

Dr Peter A. Cardinal

In Cumberland County Pennsylvania a doctor who was arrested in February for “using sex toys on an unconscious woman and taking pictures without consent, has been convicted of – are you ready for this? – “Invasion of Privacy.”

Doctor Peter Anthony Cardinal, age 52, was initially charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of an unconscious person, indecent assault of an unconscious person and 12 lesser charges. He was held on $1,000,000 bail.

The lesser charges were invasion of privacy – one count for each of a dozen nude photos the daffy doc snapped of the woman. She had turned them over to law enforcement after contacting them about what had happened.

Investigators learned the unnamed woman routinely used a sedative to get to sleep at night. She reported that the doctor was aware she took the drug and used the opportunity to undress her and take the photographs of her while she was unconscious. The incident happened sometime over the summer of 2014 at a private residence.

When the doctor was interviewed by detectives he admitted that he had taken pictures of the woman, according to the police report. Cardinal said he took the pictures with his cellphone because he was angry the woman “wouldn’t perform sexually for him.” He stated that afterwards he emailed the photos to his home computer.

Cardinal, who lives in Upper Allen Township, is a former medical director for Spirit Physician Services in Camp Hill. He also worked for Mercy Health System in Philadelphia.

Cardinal is expected to be sentenced to 12 months probation.

Here’s more:


Another Doctor; Another Dead Lion. We Are So Proud of Our Medical Colleagues

Trophy hunting is no sport. It is merely a disguise for killing to massage an ego.” (Will Travers, President, Born Free)

Dr Jan Seski

Dr Jan Seski


Are you ready for yet another report of an illegal lion hunt in Zimbabwe, by yet another ego-pumped physician? As with Cecil, who is even more famous now than he was in life, this second incident underscores the demand by many to stop or at least severely limit the slaughter of these magnificent animals, as seen in yet another barrage of worldwide condemnation.

In the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania suburb of Murrysville, Doctor Jan C Seski, a cancer specialist, is now under investigation in connection with an illegal lion killing last April outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe – the same sanctuary where Cecil lived for 13 years. According to investigators, Seski, age 68, has killed big-game all over the world for years.

The most accurate reports on this case say Seski – as Doctor Walter Palmer, the dentist from Minnesota – also used a bow and arrow to kill a lion on private land near the Zimbabwe national sanctuary.

According to The Chronicle, a Zimbabwean major daily newspaper, officials there are not yet certain whether Zimbabwean law enforcement have questioned the doctor or whether he knew that killing this lion was illegal.

Dr Jan Seski

Dr Jan Seski

Under Zimbabwean law, some landowners are allowed to conduct  lion hunts with certain limitations, but the landowner involved in Seski’s case, a man named Headman Sibanda, did not have proper authority.

Sibanda is being charged with “breaching hunting regulations in that he hunted without a quota and permit. He operated a company called Nyala Safaris which conducted this particular hunt,” according to the Zimbabwe National Parks Wildlife Management Authority.

A recording at Seski’s medical offices on Fifth Avenue said the practice was closed, and neither he nor his partner in the practice, Ekaterina Yatsuba, are answering the phone.

The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority reports that Sibanda had no permit to hunt lions on any land; that the law requires foreign hunters to be accompanied by an authorized, local hunter. No local hunter involved in Doctor Seski’s case has yet been identified.

The case of Doctor Walter Palmer involved a world-famous lion known as Cecil, which was killed in July. In that case, Palmer and his co-hunters used animal bait to lure Cecil from protected lands onto private property near the sanctuary. That is where the doctor shot Cecil with a bow and arrow. The lion limped away bleeding and was then tracked for another two days, before Palmer shot the animal to death.

Zimbabwean authorities state that the landowner in that case also did not have legal permission for lion hunting. Palmer paid a professional hunter based in Zimbabwe, Theo Bronkhorst, $55,000 for the hunt. Bronkhorst faces prison for failing to prevent an illegal hunt, and authorities may seek extradition of Palmer to court in Zimbabwe.

The United States does hold an extradition treaty with Zimbabwe. Extradition requests are normally submitted by the embassy of the country making the request to the Department of State, which reviews and forwards them to the Criminal Division Office of International Affairs.

Harry Litman, a former U.S. attorney, states he believes extradition is a possibility in the case of Doctor Palmer, where probable cause that a crime was committed appears certain.

“This is neither a trumped-up nor a trivial crime. It’s one that implicates the sovereign interests of Zimbabwe, and U.S. authorities will want American sovereign interests to be weighed in the balance when the shoe is on the other foot. That’s what extradition treaties are all about,” Litman said. “If I was the doctor, I’d be worried. If I was his friend, I’d tell him to get a good lawyer with state department experience.”

In response to the killings, the government of Zimbabwe announced that the “hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in areas outside of Hwange National Park has been suspended.”

According to the Born Free Foundation, more than 500 lions are killed every year in Africa by “trophy hunters” and most of the hunters are from the U.S.

The number of lions in Africa has decreased by half since 1980.Born Free has petitioned U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the African lion as endangered, but they have not. They have asked the U.S. government and the European Union to help end the import of lion trophies into their countries.

Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is introducing a bill entitled “Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies,” which would extend prohibitions on importing trophies from animals killed abroad.

The Humane Society is asking major airlines to follow the lead of Delta, which announced a ban on transporting “trophies of the Big Five” – buffalo, elephants, rhinoceros, leopards and lions.

Trophy hunting is no sport. It is merely a disguise for killing to massage an ego,” says Will Travers, president of Born Free. His parents, Bill Travers and Virginia McKeena, starred in the 1966 movie “Born Free”, quit their acting careers and became instrumental in the founding of the Born Free conservation organizations.


Medical Oversight and Patient Safety? You be the Judge

Duodenoscopy at its most basic

Duodenoscopy at its most basic

We’re guessing that when you, personally, take a loved one to your local hospital, neither of you have the slightest expectation that the upcoming examination might end up causing serious injury or kill you. But if you have been reading Medical Miscreants at all, you should certainly be properly informed by now.

Over the past 10 years, thousands of citizens have been sickened and some have been killed, for no other reason than hospital acquired infections linked to contaminated medical examination scopes. And making this ridiculous situation worse is the undeniable fact that many of these cases might never have happened at all, if the Food and Drug Administration had simply done its job with a greater sense of urgency. You see, our tax money funds this organization, and they are the folks charged with the responsibility of ensuring medical equipment safety.

What the FDA has done instead is wait half a decade before publicizing a safety announcement regarding at least one particular device, known as a duodenoscope – a flexible tube which is inserted into the mouth and throat of patients in order to see and treat gall bladder  blockage. The safety announcement came along six years after the FDA first learned that this particular device, among others, is difficult to disinfect and has been the cause of lethal infections that afflicted dozens of patients in the state of Florida alone. This, according to a USA TODAY investigation. And while they twiddled their medical thumbs, 15 patients died.

This appalling medical dollar play – as so many dollar plays do – played out behind the scenes with no public scrutiny, with troubling questions about the way medical devices are cleared for sale and their safety overseen. Legally, newly designed medical equipment that is similar to products already in existence, receive less scrutiny than new devices. That much makes sense. But what is truly stupid is a so-called ‘public safety’ policy that allows the manufacturers to police themselves.

The FDA is foolish enough to depend on manufacturers to quickly report safety problems. And when these companies refuse to ‘fess up, dangerous medical equipment permeates thousands of hospitals for years. Perhaps even worse, the FDA hides identifying information from reports to the public, which makes it nearly impossible for patient advocates to spot dangerous trends. The end result? Well in this case, people died.

In April 2009, federal health officials quietly urged the FDA to alert hospitals about the risk of duodenoscope-related infections after the Florida cases surfaced. One public health official warned in an email that “this is likely not an issue limited” to Florida. More than 650,000 scope procedures happen each year in the U.S.

Seven months later, the FDA included two sentences buried in the 57th paragraph of a general advisory on cleaning all kinds of medical scopes. It was hardly what was needed to get hospitals’ attention.

By 2010, infections linked to the scopes surfaced in Europe. By 2014, outbreaks linked to them sickened patients in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Los Angeles and other cities.

The FDA’s major safety alert and cleaning guidance finally came out this February, a month after the first story in an investigative series by USA TODAY’s Peter Eisler appeared, as news broke of infections in Los Angeles.

Other players failed to do their jobs, too.

Olympus, which holds a majority of the duodenoscope market, did not have FDA clearance before selling the scopes, a violation of agency regulations. The FDA has failed to pursue sanctions against the company.

Scope makers are supposed to report safety problems within 30 days of their appearance, but the FDA often got reports late. Many hospitals where infections occurred have done very little to alert the public or even their own patients.

The outbreaks also highlight an emerging medical danger: bacteria that are resistant to most, and sometimes all, antibiotics. Scientists have warned for years that the overuse of antibiotics in humans and farm animals has spawned the growth of bacteria resistant to these wonder drugs. They include CRE, one bacteria that tainted the duodenscopes and has a 40% mortality rate.

The FDA has not recalled this device, announcing that it remains a safer choice than surgery for treatment of certain conditions. That makes sense.  And with advice from experts, the FDA has recommended more effective ways to disinfect or sterilize these complex, costly scopes. Some hospitals are already following those procedures. But the scopes, as one hospital official told Eisler, are “a nightmare” to clean.

We believe it is past time for Congress to order the FDA to stop pretending it gives a damn about safety and explain before the cameras why it fails to do its watchdog job.

Don’t hold your breath. In the monastic world of government oversight patient safety is not the priority. Money and power are the priorities. Patients are a dime a dozen, and they keep right on coming through the clinic doors, as hopeful and intellectually lazy as always.



Drug Pushing Physician in Ohio Will Continue Life in Prison

“Drug addicts are not necessarily vulnerable victims. But many of Volkman’s patients had serious psychiatric problems, and prior suicide attempts, qualifying them for vulnerable-victim status.” (Judge Berniece Donald)

What planet does YOUR doctor come from?

What planet does YOUR doctor come from?

It took a little less than two years for Doctor Paul Volkman to kill 12 of his patients. We’re pleased to do the simple math for you: this madcap medicine man managed to end somebody’s life at least once every 60 days. He committed this torrid spree of homicide at a “no insurance, just cash” drug dealing business so inappropriately called the Tri-State Health Clinic, located in the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio. That was where he would routinely prescribe cartel volumes of narcotics to as many as 110 patients a week.

Volkman had applied for the position of clinic MD at Tri-State because he had a habit of stepping into deep legal doo-doo and no longer qualified for malpractice insurance. Not long after he arrived, the local drug stores started refusing to honor his prescriptions because it was clear to pharmacists he was improperly dosing patients. No problem for drug-dealer Volkman – as a trained pharmacist as well as a physician, he simply opened a drug store inside the clinic and presto! It was like Bowling for Dollars.

Dr Paul H Volkman

Dr Paul H Volkman

After federal DEA agents raided the clinic, the county grand jury indicted the doctor along with several others involved on a litany of felonies, including illegal drug distribution causing death. As an example, detectives found that Volkman had issued a 600+ pill prescription to one drug-addicted patient for Soma, Lortab, Xanax and oxycodone. Four of the patients whose deaths were tied to Volkman died within two days of leaving the clinic with a new prescription.

An Ohio jury convicted Volkman on four similar charges, and he was sentenced to four consecutive life terms. A three-judge panel in Cincinnati, which upheld the doctor’s sentence, released this statement:

“There is sufficient evidence to show that this man was hardly the blissfully-ignorant doctor he now makes himself out to be. A rational trier of fact can easily conclude that the entire enterprise of dispensing pills straight from the clinic was Volkman’s brainchild. That same trier of fact can determine it was highly unlikely that Volkman – a man who prided himself on knowing the inner workings of his clinic – was unaware of the clinic’s drug profits.”

The 6th Circuit panel agreed to review Volkman’s case, but reaffirmed his conviction last week, ruling that a reasonable jury could have found that Volkman’s prescriptions of oxycodone to patients had no legitimate medical purpose, and were the cause of each of their deaths.

Here’s another look at this case: