Patient Deaths Reported After Stomach Balloon Weight Loss Procedures

A recent Food and Drug Administration report reveals that 5 obesity treatment patients, who underwent stomach balloon placement, have died over the last 18 months.


The procedure takes about 30 minutes and costs about $3,000


Four of the 5 had what is called the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System inserted. The other underwent a procedure involving the ReShape Integrated DualBalloon System.

All of the patients died within 30 days of the balloon insertions, and several died in less than a week.

And doctors say they have no idea what went wrong.

The balloon insertion procedure involves placing either one or two un-inflated balloons through the patient’s mouth and into the stomach. Sterile salt water is then squirted into the balloons. The usual plan is for the balloons to lay in the stomach for 6 months. The result is that patients eat far less because they feel “full.”

The FDA says they are working to determine the exact causes of the deaths. They are looking into possible complications such as sudden over-inflation.

“At this time, we do not know the root cause or incidence rate of patient death, nor have we been able to definitively attribute the deaths to the devices or the insertion procedures for these devices,” the FDA said in a safety alert issued Thursday.

The FDA announced they are also investigating 2 other patient deaths, that could be related to possible complications of gastric balloon treatment. 

In those cases, there were accidental punctures of the throat and the stomach.

In total, there have been 21 known deaths over the last decade.

Here’s more from the FDA:

Most of the over-inflation reports involved the Orbera System that uses a single balloon, although some reports involved the ReShape Dual Balloon System that uses two balloons. Neither product mentions over-inflation risk. “At this moment there is not enough information to determine what is causing the balloon to overinflate.”

Other side effects involved sudden pancreatitis caused when the balloons compress other abdominal organs. Both the Orbera and ReShape products are associated with pancreatitis, Neither company lists pancreatitis as a potential complication. Pancreatitis was reported as early as 3 days after implantation, and symptoms included severe back and abdominal pain.


Texas MD Gropes One Too Many Ladies

New details are emerging in the case against Doctor Jaime Sandoval in Corpus Christi Texas. 

Dr Jamie Sandoval

The Texas Medical Board announced on July 21 that they have suspended his medical license after they learned there were credible reports that he was routinely inappropriately touching and groping adult female patients.

A Corpus Christi doctor’s license has been suspended for, “engaging in a pattern of inappropriate conduct with 5 female patients, in which he violated sexual boundaries.” (, Corpus Christi Caller-Times)

A spokesperson for the Corpus Christi Police Department told the news media the doctor, age 63, was arrested on July 19 after one of his patients claimed she was sexually assaulted.

From February 2009 to April 2017, the medical board found that Sandoval had committed inappropriate conduct with at least 5 patients through inappropriate touching, actions and comments deemed offensive and sexual, the press release stated.

According to the arrest warrant, the most recent victim told detectives the physician sexually assaulted her on February 1, 2017 at his clinic, located at 1301 Santa Fe Street. She told police she went to the clinic seeking treatment for a rash on her neck. She reported that during the exam, Sandoval stood behind her, opened her blouse and massaged her breasts. She told police, “the doctor asked me to lay down on the exam table so that he could check my stomach. Instead, he placed his hands in and around my “private area.” She said the doctor told her that she looked sexy.

Jaime Sandoval was handcuffed and arrested on July 19 and was taken to the Nueces County Jail. He was later released on $50,000 bail.


Our Observations:

So frisky, freaky Sandoval is simply one of thousands of immigrant-MDs who’ve come to the conclusion that the U.S. healthcare system is rife with perverted-physician opportunity. For each one who is eventually caught – and remember that this miscreant’s sexual fun and games went on for nearly 10 years – how many more do you suppose are out there?

Palm Harbor Cancer MD Gets 6-Year Sentence for Drug-Smuggling, Fraud

And here we have still another shamed Florida physician – this one would routinely administer cheaper, illegal, foreign-made drugs to her unknowing cancer patients. A federal jury found her guilty of all 45 criminal charges . She was sentenced last week to 6 years in federal prison.


Doctor Diana Anda Norbergs, age 61, cried as she read her statement of sorrow before U.S. District judge James Moody. She apologized to the five-dozen patients who were victimized by her careless, dangerous and usually worthless treatments, by a supposed cancer-care expert. Of course the “apology” was rather tepid, since she blamed the drug companies and her own staff for the “errors.” 

Norbergs testified in court that she had “no idea” her clinic was using unapproved drugs from unlicensed foreign distributors. She believed that the drugs she was receiving had been FDA-approved and could be legally sold in the United States.

Yes, she really did say she didn’t know a thing about the drugs she was pushing into her patients’ veins.


Dr Diana Anda Norbergs

Here’s her clinic PR sheet. She looks almost respectable in a lab coat, doesn’t she?

Norbergs’ criminal deeds occurred at a sham medical clinic called East Lake Oncology in Palm Harbor, where she pushed at least $700,000 worth of the illegal drugs like Altuzan and MabThera. She then billed Medicare for the legal – and more expensive – American counterparts.

Federal health officials said patients at East Lake Oncology were unaware that for the past 6 years Dr. Diana Anda Norbergs and her staff were giving them cheaper, misbranded drugs that were not approved for use in the United States. She then billed the taxpayer-funded Medicare program and private insurance companies for the illegal prescriptions, falsifying that she was actually using the FDA-approved versions. Norbergs would then pocket the extra money.

Norbergs was found guilty in a jury trial last November. She was convicted of Drug Smuggling into the United States, Healthcare Fraud, Mail Fraud and Receiving Misbranded Medications.

“It doesn’t get much more serious than this . . . a physician giving unapproved drugs to cancer patients and billing Medicare as if she had provided FDA-approved drugs.”  (Shimon R. Richmond, special agent, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

So judge Moody ordered Norbergs to serve 70 months in federal prison, and she was ordered to repay the nearly $850,000 she stole from in Medicare. 

Her medical license was revoked last May, so don’t bother calling the “clinic” anymore, located at 4114 Woodlands Pkwy # 301, Palm Harbor, FL 34685

Phone: (727) 789-2595. (disconnected)


The doctor isn’t in today. And she won’t be in tomorrow, either.

Here’s another look:


Florida Pediatrician Loses Medical License After Groping Teenage boy

It seems that a physician formerly on staff at Miami’s largest children’s hospital, no less – confessed last September to charges of attempted felony child abuse . And as a result, his medical license has finally been revoked by the Florida Board of Medicine, as of last Friday.

Dr Robert Kemp Crockett

Dr Robert Kemp Crockett of Coral Gables Florida. (photo by the Miami Herald)

There was no word from the state medical board as to why – after this embarrassing admission – that it would take a whopping 10 months to revoke the medical license of a physician pervert. But when it comes to doctors and discipline, state medical boards move with all the alacrity of the Queen Mary in a hurricane.

Doctor Robert Kemp Crockett, an ER child specialist, pleaded guilty in a North Carolina courtroom in July 2014, to taking “indecent liberties” with a 15-year-old boy, while they were on a family vacation to Brunswick County, North Carolina.

In exchange for his confession, Crockett, who also formerly worked at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, was sentenced to probation for 3 years and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. He will serve no time in jail because, well, he’s a doctor, get it?

Crockett, age 64, is a resident of Coral Gables.

A board-certified pediatrician, Crockett was fired by Miami Children’s Hospital in December 2014, after administrators first learned that he was accused of Statutory Rape.

Investigators in North Carolina learned of Crockett’s child abuse in August 2014, when they were called by the Professionals Resource Network.

Detectives learned that the doctor had told a PRN counselor that he had put his hands on the genitals of a teenage boy during a trip to North Carolina the prior month. Police then issued an arrest warrant.

At the time that PRN reported Crockett to police, he was already on a leave of absence from the children’s hospital in Miami. Counseling between medical practitioners and PRN is typically confidential, except for mandated reporting of issues involving the abuse of vulnerable adults and children.

PRN reports they council about 75 medical practitioners each month, in need of help with substance abuse and emotional issues.

Virginia MD, Charged With Nurses’ Murder, Released From Jail Pending Trial

In the city of Richmond a doctor believed to have killed his girlfriend will soon be released from jail because his murder trial has been delayed.

Dr John Gibbs

Dr John Elmore Gibbs

Doctor John E. Gibbs, age 39, is scheduled for release on September 1, because his murder trial in Chesterfield Circuit Court has been pushed back 90 days. According to the prosecution, the trial needed to be rescheduled so that an important witness will be available to testify against him. 

Gibbs, a pain management specialist, was arrested on March 14 at a ski slope. He has been charged with the murder of a nurse named Zulma Pabon, a coworker who disappeared in 2014 while living with the doctor. Ms. Pabon’s body was never found.

Zulma Pabon, age 26, was last seen alive on June 6, 2014, according to the Chesterfield County Police Department. The licensed practical nurse was leaving her job at Commonwealth Fertility and Women’s Health at St. Francis Medical Center.

Zulma Pabon

The missing nurse Zulma Pabon

At the bail hearing for the doctor on April 11 the prosecution revealed numerous strange details discovered during the investigation – all of which lead them to believe the physician killed the nurse: 

  • In the weeks before Ms. Pabon disappeared,  Gibbs performed searches on his home computer regarding the use of ether to cause unconsciousness.
  • In the days after the nurse went missing, the doctor went to a local Lowes home supply store and purchased 23 bottles of acid drain cleaner and a large trash container.
  • While Gibbs was unaware he was being followed by undercover law enforcement, detectives witnessed him driving to a large dumpster, miles away from his home, and dropping a large black trash bag. When police retrieved the bag, they found bedsheets from his home. 
  • After Gibbs moved from the home he’d shared with Pabon to another apartment, the doctor trashed his girlfriend’s belongings, including her jewelry, clothing and pictures of them together.
  • Detectives told the grand jury that even though the doctor referred to himself as Ms. Pabon’s boyfriend, he never reported her missing and refused to cooperate with police when they wanted to ask him questions about her disappearance. This, according to  reports CBS affiliate WTVR.

Investigators are convinced Ms Pabon is dead, although her body has not been found. They say the case is now classified as a ‘No Body’ Homicide.

NO BODY HOMICIDE (2)The murder trial – originally scheduled for July 31 – is expected to begin November 1.

Here’s more:





Press Release: “The Paramedic Heretic” Exposes Curious Conundrums within EMS

The author was not even out of medical school before he witnessed his first doctor commit murder. It would not be his last – Lord, no – but he can recall that night as vividly as though it happened last week. Few medics forget their first physician homicide.



heretic-cover-1When Patrick McDonald began rescue training in the 1970s, he was among the first paramedics in the nation, filled with the zeal to save lives in ways not imagined even a decade before. More than 20,000 911 calls later however, pride in his profession has eroded. So he turned to his three-decades of note-taking to scribe an imminently readable, jaw-dropping assessment of the power struggles within the cloistered world of rescue – a battle that sometimes has fatal consequences. He also defines what he calls the “Immutable Laws” that reign supreme in the business of saving lives.

McDonald, having experienced the trenches of rescue for more than 30 years, offers story after story in which rules and policy corrupt paramedic efficiency. He details some success stories, but reveals dozens of cases where the consequences of protocol short-circuit rescue efforts. In one fascinating case the author himself nearly lost his medical license because he authorized a non-EMS helicopter to fly out critically injured Girl Scouts in a Palm Springs bus tragedy – until the famous Sonny Bono (who had been on the disaster scene) saved the day.

“The Paramedic Heretic” – a first-person account of San Diego’s PSA Flight #182 tragedy

“The Pedigree of a Paramedic Heretic: Immutable Laws and Ethical Illusions” reveals that time after time, saving lives is not rescue priority. Instead, following policies, ensuring team safety and avoiding lawsuits all trump patients’ lives. “Heretic” also points out numerous medical myths, such as ambulance sirens saving lives (they don’t); the “Golden Hour” of patient care (one doctor’s silly fantasy); and the futility, in many cases, of CPR. Some of the biggest problem areas, McDonald writes, are mistakes made in prescriptions; wholly unnecessary surgeries and flawed medical records.

That paramedics remain mute in the presence of incompetent or criminal physicians, for fear of losing their jobs, is a maddening reality. Saving lives, in the end, has become far more about capitalism and power struggles, than heroism.

Author K. Patrick McDonald knows of what he writes. He was appointed the first EMS supervisor for San Diego city and created one of the country’s first Special Trauma & Rescue teams. McDonald, a graduate of University of California, San Diego School of Medicine original advanced field medicine program, co-wrote the National Pool & Waterpark Lifeguard Training Manual. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Secret Service and Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix

L A Book Fest Art (2)


NYC Doctor and Wife Leap to Their Deaths in Suicide Pact

In downtown New York City a doctor and his wife jumped to their deaths from a Midtown high-rise early this morning. They each carried what is referred to by investigators as a ‘letter of intent’ that indicated they had serious financial problems, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.


Doctor and wife’s bodies lay covered in the street early this morning in New York City. (photo by Seth Gottfried)

Doctor Glenn Scarpelli, age 53, and his wife Patricia Colant, age 50, apparently leaped from their 9th floor clinic, located in a 14-story business building at 33 Street and Madison Avenue. They are believed to have jumped from a window about 5:45 a.m.

“We had a wonderful life,” one of the notes said. It went on to reference to a, “financial spiral.”

Dr. Glen Scarpelli and his wife, Patricia, jumped to their deaths from a rooftop on 33rd St. on Friday.

Doctor Glenn Scarpelli

The couple worked together at Scarpelli’s chiropractic clinic, known as the Madison Wellness Center, where for a time former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre was a patient.

The ugly deaths in the street left the couple’s neighbors stunned. They were known to frequent neighborhood restaurants and bodegas and were well-liked. “He was the happiest guy you’d ever want to meet,” said Robert Bisaccia, who worked for an architectural firm in the same building.

The staff at Beckett’s Bar & Grill  was emotionally crushed by the news, the owner said sadly.

“He was a family man,” said a neighbor. “He always talked about his son and his daughter. I can’t comprehend why they did this.”

The boy is 19 and the daughter is 20. They are both college students.

The NYPD Head of Detectives, Robert Boyce, said the motives for the double suicide are not yet clear. “We just don’t know right now,” Boyce said.

NTC High-rise

The Madison Avenue Wellness center was located on the 9th floor. (photo by Marcus Santos)