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Posts Tagged ‘medical malpractice’

The answer is “NO” for several disfigured patients in Australia, who later found out that a loophole in Australian licensing laws allowed Dentists and other medical (nonsurgeons) professionals to claim use of the title of ‘cosmetic surgeon’ without any formalized training or certification in plastic and reconstructive surgery (or even any surgery specialty at all).

In this article from the Sydney Morning Herald, Melissa Davey explains how dentists and other nonsurgical personnel skirted around laws designed to protect patients from exactly this sort of deceptive practice, and how this resulted in harm to several patients.

As readers will recall – we previously discussed several high-profile cases of similar instances in the United States, including a doctor charged in the deaths of several patients from his medical negligence.  In that case, a ‘homeopathic’  and “self-proclaimed” plastic surgeon, Peter Normann was criminally indicted in the intra-operative deaths of several of his patients.  The patients died while he was performing liposuction due to improper intubation techniques.

But at least, in both of the cases above – the people performing the procedures, presumably, had at a minimum, some training in a medical/ quasi-medical field..

Surgeon or a handyman

More frightening, is the ‘handyman’ cases that have plagued Las Vegas and several other American cities – where untrained smooth operators have preyed primarily on the Latino community – injecting cement, construction grade materials and even floor wax into their victims.

How to protect yourself from shady characters?  In our post, “Liposuction in a Myrtle Beach Apartment” we discuss some of the ways to verify a surgeon’s credentials.  We also talk about how not to be fooled by fancy internet ads and the like.  (Even savvy consumers can be fooled by circular advertisements designed to look like legitimate research articles as well as bogus credentials/ or ‘for-hire’ credentials*. )

*We will talk about some of the sketchy credentials in another post – but the field is growing, by leaps and bounds..More and more fly-by-night agencies are offering ‘credentials’ for a hefty fee (and not much else.)

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Think all vitamins are safe?  What about that 1970’s panacea – the B-12 shot?  Touted as a cure-for-all and ‘natural energy booster,’ this seemingly innocuous treatment has now resulted in leaving a woman permanently disfigured.   These injections were provided by a woman who falsely claimed to be a nurse.  The patient has already undergone several surgeries for complications that assumed to be from the use of unsterile (dirty) needles.

In case you are wondering – there is little actual proof that B-12 provides health benefits to anyone other than people with known B-12 deficiencies (pernicious anemia) or dedicated vegans.

(The accused Ms. Martinez claims to be licensed as a nurse in Mexico but as readers know there are several levels of nursing/ and ‘para’ nursing training.)

A note on nursing / nursing training:   These titles range from Personal care attendant/ nursing assistant which may have as little as several weeks of on-the-job training in bathing and assisting in personal hygiene care to practical nurses, registered nurses and advanced practice nurses with master’s or doctoral degrees.  It is not entirely uncommon for nursing assistants and personal care attendants to identify themselves as ‘nurses’ or as being ‘in nursing.’

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A federal jury found Dr. John McLean, the cardiology interventionalist in the center of the latest unnecessary stent scandal guilty.  This comes just weeks after Dr, Midei – (as previously discussed here at Cartagena Surgery), lost his medical license for after placing unnecessary stents in multiple patients.   This  verdict comes in the wake of multiple scandals involving multiple physicians, which has shocked and horrified both medical community and the general public.

As a healthcare provider, the actions of these physicians disgusts and sickens me.  In addition to the unnecessary risks and possible harm done to the patients, it is the betrayal of the patient’s trust, and the erosion of the public’s confidence in their care which is equally  inexcusable.  I, for one, hope that these verdicts serve to show the public that we will not stand for such abuses.  We will not turn a blind eye to the wrong doings of others, simply because we are in health care – and we will not tolerate such practices.

Fraud conviction for McLean in latest unnecessary-stenting case

July 27, 2011            |            Shelley Wood

Baltimore, MD – Maryland, the epicenter du jour for high-profile “unnecessary-stenting” cases in the US, is in the spotlight again this week following a guilty verdict in the case of retired interventional cardiologist Dr John R Mclean.

A federal jury convicted McLean, 59, on six charges of healthcare fraud relating to insurance claims he’d filed for stents deemed to have been placed unnecessarily, as well as for ordering unnecessary tests and making false entries in patient medical records.

“The evidence shows that Dr McLean egregiously violated the trust of his patients and made false entries in their medical records to justify implanting unneeded cardiac stents and billing for the surgery and follow-up care,” US Attorney Rod J Rosenstein said in a statement released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Tuesday [1].

McLean faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for healthcare fraud and five years in prison on each of five counts of making false statements, the OIG statement notes. McLean’s sentencing is scheduled for November 10, 2011.

The jury conviction of McLean comes within weeks of the Maryland Medical Board’s decision to revoke the medical license of Dr Mark Midei, citing “repeated and serious” violations of the Medical Practice Act surrounding the implantation of unnecessary stents.

As previously reported by heartwire, McLean resigned his hospital privileges at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, MD in 2007, citing visual impairment as the reason for his resignation. Hospital administrators, however, acting on an anonymous tip, had conducted internal and external reviews leading them to conclude that McLean had implanted as many as 25 stents in patients who did not meet the clinical criteria for PCI.

During the two-week trial that ended in yesterday’s conviction, evidence brought forward suggested that McLean had performed cardiac catheterizations and implanted unnecessary cardiac stents in more than 100 patients. “He then falsely recorded in the patients’ medical records the existence or extent of coronary artery blockage, known as lesions, observed during the procedures in order to justify the stent and the submission of claims to healthcare benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid,” the OIG statement reads.

The US government is also seeking to recoup what it estimates to have been the proceeds of McLean’s scheme—a forfeiture of $711 583. The precise amount will be determined at the time of sentencing.

At least one other cardiologist has been sentenced in criminal charges for unnecessary stenting. As previously reported by heartwire, Dr Mehmood Patel, formerly of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and Lafayette General Hospital in Louisiana, was convicted on 51 counts of billing private and government health insurers for unnecessary medical procedures and received a 10-year sentence.

Article re-post from Heartwire.com

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