One Doctor to Her Colleagues: ‘Don’t Give in to Drug Cartel Bribery’

‘Life destroyed’: A physician warns other physicians about accepting money from drug and medical device manufacturers

A New York MD who is now a convicted felon, is warning other doctors about the dangers of accepting bribes from sales reps for drugs and medical devices.

Dr Michele MartinhoDoctor Michele Martinho, who faces the possibility of jail time and the loss of her medical license when she is sentenced, pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count of accepting a bribe. This week she spoke to a small audience at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, telling her story as a warning to future doctors, according to The Washington Post.

While she learned about medicine, Martinho says medical school did not prepare her for the business of medicine.

Martinho is one of more than 25 doctors who have pleaded guilty in a $200,000,000 health fraud scheme operated by the now-defunct blood-testing company Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services in New Jersey. She accepted monthly payments of $5,000 to refer patients to the lab for blood tests and other screenings, the newspaper said.

She told students her life has been “destroyed,” and she advised them to never accept anything from drug, device and other representatives who parade through doctors’ offices and to consult an attorney who specializes in medical practice with any questions.

Martinho accepted $155,000 in monthly envelopes stuffed full of cash. She has now acknowledged she realized she was evading tax laws when she took the money. But she says she did not understand that the referral itself was considered a kickback.

Really? She spent 10 years in college and she didn’t know what ‘accepting a bribe’ meant?

Doctor Martinho now spends her time speaking at healthcare and ethics institutions. She is hoping her efforts of warning other doctors of the traps set by drug cartels and medical device makers, will persuade the judge to reduce her punishment at her sentencing hearing.

(We are indebted to investigative reporter Joanne Finnigan, who writes for FierceHealthcare, for her reporting on this little-known issue)

Here’s another look at the case:

New Jersey doctor, 79, faces jail after conviction in $200M fraud case

Las Vegas ‘Pain Doctor’ May be the Oldest Drug-Dealer on the Planet


Doctor Henri Wetselaar

So what do you do when you reach your 10th decade? Why, become a drug pusher. Sure beats bingo with the old folks. (photo by Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A 93-year-old Nevada physician has been found guilty of serious drug-dealing charges that could get him a prison term that would keep him behind bars until he is 123. 

Not very damn likely he’ll get any time at all.

Doctor Henri Wetselaar was convicted in Federal Court in Las Vegas on March 23 on all 11 Narcotic felonies, as well as Money Laundering charges, in case that began when he was arrested in 2011, along with his medical assistant and a Las Vegas pharmacist.

The medical assistant who worked in Wetselaar’s clinic, David Litwin,  was convicted on 8 felony drug charges in the narcotic conspiracy scheme. The case of the pharmacist, Jason Smith,  ended in a hung jury, and he will face a new trial next month.


Screwy ‘healthcare’ – and screwball practitioners – probably kill more people than disease. But let’s all keep pretending it isn’t happening

Wetselaar, a pain specialist, immigrated from Holland  and actually served in the military during World War II. During the trial federal prosecutors were able to prove that he  had made nearly 3 dozen cash deposits totaling $260,000 in less than a year, money raked in from drug sales, especially hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma. Investigators discovered the daffy doc would charge drug dealers and addicts up to $400 for each prescription.

Wetselaar sits behind bars in Las Vegas until his sentencing in June. He could get 30 years in prison. 

Secret Hospital Inspections to Finally See the Light of Day? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The U.S. government is considering requiring that hospital inspection details be available to the public. Until that happens, what really goes on behind closed doors is keep quite secret.  When it comes to your local hospital, as of now, you have no right to know who is dying . . . or why.

It appears that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pushing to mandate a new level of transparency, when it comes to hospital dangers discovered by health inspection findings. Private health accreditation companies actually perform 90% of all U.S. hospitals and clinics assessments. That healthcare accreditors might ever release their findings to the public would be a remarkably refreshing change from the status quo.

Under this law – a law which may not get passed at all – U.S. citizens could get a look at reports which are now kept secret, about dangerous medical errors, patient misidentification and surgical errors, that kill and/or seriously injure 400-600 patients each day. 

Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services studies at least some of the inspection results gathered by private organizations. In effect, they inspect the inspections.  And last year CMS discovered that the privately funded inspection companies often completely missed serious in-hospital “danger areas” that should have been identified.

In the year 2014, CMS assessed, for example, 102 hospitals which had been recently inspected. What they discovered was stunning: out of 41 serious danger areas, 39 were totally missed by the accrediting inspector teams. This discrepancy  “raises serious concerns regarding the accrediting companies ability to appropriately identify and cite health and safety deficiencies” during inspections,” CMS officials wrote when they released draft regulations this week.

Healthcare facilities are required to meet minimum standards, which are called Medicare Conditions of Participation, in order to qualify for taxpayer funding. Although it almost never happens, hospitals and clinics can lose federal Medicare reimbursement for services and be forced to close. One jarring example was the closing of the King/Drew Trauma Center in Los Angeles in 2005.

Here’s the story:

Here is the CMS website.

Child Sexual-Torture Doctor Says Cutting Young Girls’ Vaginas is “Religious”


Dr Jumana Nagarwala

America’s bizarre immigration policies create our own neighborhood nightmares

In the state of Michigan a doctor arrested for performing child sexual mutilation has stated in court through her lawyer that she was “performing a religious practice.”

Doctor Jumala Nagarwala, about whose case we covered earlier this week, was arrested and jailed on Monday, charged with lacerating the genitals of 2 seven-year-old girls.


Here’s an idea: let’s allow any nut with a stethoscope to waltz right in

Nagarwala, age 44, is an ER physician, and is believed to have routinely cut clitoral tissue off of numerous children, but her arrest is based on charges related to only the most recent 2 girls, who were brought across the state line from Minnesota.

At her first hearing last Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Woodward told the court that the doctor performed the genital mutilation on both children after other employees of the clinic in Livonia, Michigan went home. She reported that the doctor recorded no medical charting of the surgical procedures, as required by law.  Nagarwala takes the position that her actions were “not surgical, but religious” and stresses that she did not charge the parents for the procedures.

Nonetheless, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub stated there was “clear and convincing evidence that this doctor poses a danger to the community.” She also said Nagarwala, a native of India, is a flight risk, and was ordered jailed with no bail possible, until trial. She was actually re-arrested later in the week at Detroit Metropolitan Airport while attempting to flee to Nairobi Kenya.


America is rapidly becoming a nation many of us don’t recognize

FGM is a horrific infliction upon a child; a barbaric ritual commonly practiced in numerous cultures, involving the cutting away internal parts of female genitals for “Godly” – as opposed to medical – reasons. The deranged practitioners report they do this to “cleanse” females and eliminate sexual desire after puberty. The torture is commonly performed by Muslim sects, primarily in Africa, Yemen, India and the Middle-East. It is extremely common in Egypt, and is secretly practiced in shadow communities in the U.S., especially Minneapolis-area, New York and California, where at least  500,000 women either have been – or will be – forced to undergo the butchery, according to the World Health Organization.

Nagarwala’s case is apparently the first under U.S. law criminalizing the practice. It is illegal to either perform, or to transport a girl out of the U.S. to undergo the procedure. At present, only 26 states have laws making this particular form of sexual torture illegal.   

Nagarwala is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community, an Islamic sect originally from India which has a mosque in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Here’s more on this sick, twisted mentality:


“Biggest U.S. Doctor-Crime-Scam” Ever



No other profession steals more money from the citizenry

“Patients should come before profits.” (Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

A jaw-dropping 27 New Jersey and New York physicians have now been found guilty in what is being called a “bribe-for-blood” scam that raked in more than $100,000,000 of taxpayers money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman described the conspiracy to commit medical fraud as a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services, a Parsippany New Jersey lab which has since been shut down by federal agents. A full 13 non-physicians, most of whom were employed BLS, have also been found guilty.

As of yesterday 39 lab coat criminals – 26 of them doctors – have confessed their roles in the conspiracy, which its organizers admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100,000,000 in payments to BLS from Medicare and other insurance carriers.


We’re guessing you didn’t know that.

Fishman added that many of the doctors engaged in elaborate versions of the kickback scheme, such as getting under-the-table tickets to concerts by Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, worth thousands of dollars.

Here is the litany of New Jersey physicians alone,  who secretly tucked cash into their floppy lab coat pockets:

  • Doctor Bernard Greenspan, of Saddle Brook
  • Doctor Frank Santangelo, of Wayne and Montville
  • Doctor Gary Safier, of Randolph
  • Doctor Angelo Calabrese, of North Arlington
  • Doctor Dennis Aponte, of Cedar Grove
  • Doctor Dana Fortunato, of Montclair
  • Doctor Claudio Dicovsky, of Paterson
  • Doctor Paul Ostergaard, of Pompton Plains
  • Doctor Wayne Lajewski, of Madison
  • Doctor Glenn Leslie, of Ramsey
  • Doctor John Vitali, of Howell and Wall
  • Doctor Douglas Beinstock, of Hawthorne
  • Doctor Anthony DeLuca, of Point Pleasant
  • Doctor Franz Goyzueta, of Secaucus
  • Doctor Eugene DeSimone, of Secaucus
  • Doctor Anthony Delpiano, of Jersey City
  • Doctor Ralph Messo, of Colts Neck

This case is believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a single American bribery case.

San Diego Paramedics’ First Life Saved? It Almost Didn’t Happen


Our first medic shoulder patch looked like this

By 1972 millions of federal dollars became available to counties that agreed to adopt the nationally acceptable EMS template. So in cities great and small, highly trained pairs of rescuers started popping up like dandelions on the landscape. But not so fast, Charlie Brown. Not in some cities and certainly not in our city. Not San Diego.

One of the largest cities in the nation, San Diego was a mere 90 miles down the freeway from Daniel Freeman, Harbor General and L.A.’s Emergency! television medics.  But our burgeoning border metropolis would wait nearly another decade for the level of street medical care enjoyed in Podunk, USA. And why would that be?


If you think San Diego’s most powerful doctors wanted something like this running around town, you don’t know your history. Doctors lobbied the City Council because they didn’t want to see ANY of this. They did all they could to stop it.

In ‘America’s Finest City’ the most vocal opponents of advanced rescue medicine were a handful of MDs who happened to hold pontificating sway over the City Council. Yes indeedy. These politically-bent MDs held a considerable level of contempt toward these “unproven, unnecessary, probably dangerous” rescue changes. San Diego had operated barren police ambulances for decades, and that was quite good enough, thank you. The last thing citizens needed – in the minds of these physicians – was a bunch of pretend-doctors running around in shiny trucks.



When evil struck a San Diego McDonald’s – the author was there. James Huberty shot 41 innocent people. Had the city’s politico-MDs gotten their way, there would have been no medics for this tragedy, either. Go figure.


So the years went by. Eventually, after nearly a decade of hearing little but a litany of negatives from some of the most respected physicians, the City Council decided to put its collective foot down and voted to approve San Diego’s first Paramedic program, to begin in February,1979. Of course a PSA airliner wiping out a neighborhood four months prior, did nothing to strengthen the contrarian physicians’ case. The Mayor – and future Governor – Pete Wilson, was pushing hard for a true EMS upgrade, and had it not been for his vision and persistence, San Diego might have waited another 10 years.

No need to look far for a training program: UCSD School of Medicine in La Jolla was, after all, smack in the middle of town, already generating qualified Paramedics for other, more enlightened cities. The highly-intensive curriculum was directed by Doctor Andrew Rauscher, under the School of Anesthesiology. It was overseen by Doctor Silvia Micik. It was managed by Gail Walraven, whose team of instructors were seriously dedicated, marvelous women, everyone: Ginger Murphy. Margie Nerney. Karen LeBlanc. Josie Harding. Marilyn Sheets, who came along just a bit later, should be included too.

Because it was so late in coming, we find it noteworthy to reference the first Paramedic-level EMS call in the city of San Diego, which occurred on February 2, 1979, at 8:19 in the morning. The emergency was what is known as a dissecting aortic aneurysm and there exists no condition more deadly. Had this gentleman collapsed the day before, he would have been picked up, loaded into a police van and carted away to die within the hour. But not on this day.


For those interested, an excellent overview of America’s EMS evolution

The rescue team – Medevac 2arrived within five minutes and performed a very sophisticated physical assessment of the poor man lying on the kitchen floor. They compared blood pressures on each arm in both sitting and supine positions – a technique likely unheard of by first-aiders who came before. They determined a 100% accurate diagnosis of critical internal bleeding. They placed their patient on high-flow oxygen and inserted two large IV lines, running fluid into the man as quickly as humanly possible. They interpreted his heart rhythm – sinus tachycardia with dangerous runs of premature ventricular contractions via a portable EKG monitor called the LifePak 5. They transported the patient slowly, smoothly – red lights but no ridiculous siren – to Mercy Hospital 3 miles up the street. He was admitted directly to surgery and he lived to tell his grand kids all about his nearly lethal adventure.

San Diego City EMS Case #79-00001 went down in medical history. It did. Mr. Ivan Kosygin, a 66- year-old Ukrainian emigrant – lived 18 more years. The Mobile Intensive Care nurse on the hospital end of the radio that morning was Diana Hunt, with her marvelous British accent. The ER physician of record was Thomas Kravis. The rescuers? Cyndi Stankowski, one of the first women Paramedics in the nation, fresh out of school.

And your author.

Have a happy and relaxed Easter Sunday, readers. And thank you for your ever-growing interest in subjects that we believe truly matter. Perhaps someday one of our scribbled bits of wisdom will save a loved one.