2000 - Des Moines Illinois-Anesthesiologist Eric Meek
filed a lawsuit in July against surgeon Scott Neff over an incident in February 2000 that
took their ongoing professional feud too far. Meek said that when he walked into the
operating room to work with
Scott Neff , M.D. , on a "routine hip replacement" at Mercy Medical Center , surgeon Scott Neff, M.D. , GRABBED THE HOSE ATTACHED TO A FLUID DRAINING MACHINE AND BANISHED MEEK FROM THE OPERATING ROOM BY SPRAYING HIM WITH A " blood-laden liquid ".
2000 -- Orthopedic surgeon Nicholas Capello had his
license lifted in April by the Arkansas Medical Board for as many as 20 botched surgeries
featuring such errors as metal plates screwed to the wrong bones or screws missing the
1991 -- In August, Chile's supreme court ordered the private Providencia Clinic to release a newborn baby that had been withheld from his parents for 11 days as collateral for $l,000 in unpaid medical bills.
2000 -- In February , Nova Scotia provincial judge John MacDougall , ruled that a doctor that masturbated two teenage boys several times in his office, had not violated the law because he had thought his unorthodox procedure was a valid treatment for the boys (one of which had merely complained of blurred vision after a fall ). Two weeks later , a prosecutor used a rare constitutional procedure and indicted the doctor directly before the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
2000 -- Robert Banks sued the Earl K. Long Medical
Center in Baton Rouge , LA in March ,
complaining that he went in for a heart bypass operation in 1995, but came out merely circumcised (which doctors said was a necessary thing they had to do before attempting the surgery on the heart because he required kidney monitoring equipment). For some reason after getting it all setup, the doctors decided not to do the bypass.
1996 -- German physicians from Eberhard-Karls
University in Tubingen reported in a November New England Journal of Medicine that a
53-year-old surgeon accidentally transplanted a patient's malignant tumor cells into his
own hand when he nicked it during surgery on the patient.
1994 -- In March, the Medical Board of California charged orthopedic surgeon Fereydoune Shirazi with improper behavior during a 1990 operation. Allegedly, when Shirazi took an 11-minute restroom break while an operation was in progress, he forgot to turn off a machine called the nucleotome, which has tiny blades to cut the insides of the patient's spinal column.
1992 -- Joseph J. Kim, a physician on the staff of the University Hospital in Columbia, Mo., was charged in May with sexual assault against at least two female patients whom he told he was "preparing for surgery." He told one that, to prepare her to breathe properly during the operation, he would have to blindfold her and insert four objects down her throat. The third object allegedly was his penis.
1991 -- A discipline committee of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons cleared a Canadian doctor of impropriety charged by a female patient last year. She had said, after 10 months of treatment for insomnia and other problems, that he told her he wanted to try something different. He had her lie on the floor on a mattress, administered acupuncture, and then removed his pants and lowered his pelvis onto her face. She said he then expressed annoyance that the treatment did not work. The doctor told the committee that the treatment was not unusual and encouraged "bonding" to overcome childhood traumas. The committee found for the doctor because the patient's memory of details of the incident was too inconsistent to be believed.
1995 -- In January, anesthesiologist Channagirie Manjanatha pleaded guilty to criminal negligence in Regina, Saskatchewan, for leaving the room for 15 minutes during surgery to make a phone call, thus leaving an oxygen machine unmonitored, which resulted in brain damage to the patient. And in November, the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners suspended neurosurgeon Raymond Sattler for nine incidents including one in which he took a lunch break in the middle of aneurysm surgery, leaving the patient's brain exposed with no other physician in the room.
1994 -- In June, the County Medical Examiner in Knoxville, Tenn., Randall E. Pedigo, was shot after he pulled a loaded gun on law enforcement officers who confronted him at his home on a charge that he had molested a teen-age boy the night before. A search of Pedigo's apartment turned up 97 guns along with photos of nude, underage boys, some of which were taken, the police allege, after Pedigo had drugged them or had convinced them that the photos were for "medical research."
1995 -- Recent overpowering stenches in the news: In January, Hamilton, Ontario, dermatologist Peter Bolton was charged with depositing an unidentified but extremely foul-smelling substance several times outside the office of another doctor with whom he had been feuding. About 100 gallons of deodorizer was needed in February to neutralize the smell from stray cats that had been living underneath Burbank (Calif.) High School. The July 1994 floods in Macon County, Ga., drowned 250,000 chickens, creating, according to the Associated Press, "an unfathomably foul, gag-inducing" stench that hung over the area for more than a week.
1995 -- Dr. Robert J. Cosgrove's reappointment as staff anesthesiologist at Granville Medical Center in Oxford, N.C., was delayed briefly in December. According to a sheriff's report, three female YMCA employees reported that a man, who entered on Cosgrove's membership card and left in his car, had dressed as a woman and gone into a women's locker room at the Y. Further arousing suspicion was Cosgrove's decision to shave his longstanding beard right around the time of the incident. Cosgrove denied the charges and was reappointed.
1992 -- Physician Donald Miller, leaving his practice in Taylors, S.C., to join a group practice in Michigan, recently sold his office building at auction to Greenville, S.C., auto leasing and salvage executive Bob Rogers, and for another $4,000, threw in the medical records of his 10,000 patients. Rogers, who later said, "I'll buy anything that looks like I can make some money off it," at first tried selling photocopies of the records back to the patients for $25 each but ultimately sold the records at a profit to a Jacksonville, Fla., physician.
1993 -- In November, the New York Board of Regents overruled the state health commissioner and declined to revoke the medical license of dermatologist Stephen Kurzweil, even though Kurzweil has said he believes he was marked with a leg scar by aliens operating near the South Pole. Kurzweil also believes that space aliens gave technology to Nazis to use against Jews and that aliens have been answering his office phone. One board member said there was nothing to suggest that any of Dr. Kurzweil's patients were harmed by his "eccentricity."
1994 -- Last October, New York City Correction Department doctor Jerzy Gajewski, at his trial for fondling a woman in a subway station the year before, was suspended without pay after he allegedly fondled the court stenographer.
1996 -- In June, the Arkansas State Medical Board ordered Waldo, Ark., family physician Jewel Byron Grimmett Jr. to start keeping written records. At a hearing, Grimmett told board members that he has kept all patient histories, including prescription records, only in his head for the 35 years he has been practicing medicine. Grimmett avoided license revocation because he is Waldo's only doctor and because, according to him, he treats about half his patients for free.
1992 -- According to a panel of physicians at a medical convention in Chicago in February, human error by hospital doctors and staff accounts for 200,000 deaths a year in the United States (though half of those would die anyway of the ailments that sent them to the hospital). One doctor estimated that 3.7 percent of patients suffer a disabling injury, or worse, during a hospital stay, and more than 1 million suffer some kind of accidental injury. Errors in prescription medicines lead the list.
1992 -- Retired doctor Garrett O'Brian, 57, was shot and killed by police in Palm Springs, Calif., after he flew into an uncontrollable rage at neighborhood party guests' parking in front of his home.
1994 -- In May, according to The New York Times, Andre Balazs, owner of Hollywood's Chateau Marmont Hotel, and Katie Ford, co-president of the Ford modeling agency, were asked by the doctor who delivered their baby at Mount Sinai Hospital whether they wanted to eat the baby's placenta. Stunned, Balazs and Ford declined. The doctor said, "I've had a few couples who wanted to do that."
1991 -- In March, Florence Schreiber Power, 44, a Ewing, N.J., administrative law judge on trial for shoplifting two watches, called her psychiatrist to testify that Powers was under stress at the time of the incidents. The doctor said Powers did not know what she was doing "from one minute to the next," for the following 19 reasons: a recent auto accident, a traffic ticket, a new-car purchase, overwork, husband's kidney stones, husband's asthma (and breathing machine that occupies their bedroom), menopausal hot flashes, an "ungodly" vaginal itch, a bad rash, fear of breast and anal cancer, fear of dental surgery, son's need for an asthma breathing machine, mother's and aunt's illnesses, need to organize her parents' 50th wedding anniversary, need to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 20 relatives, purchase of 200 gifts for Christmas and Hanukkah, attempt to sell her house without a Realtor, lawsuit against wallpaper cleaners, purchase of furniture that had to be returned, and a toilet in her house that was constantly running. She was convicted.
1996 -- UPDATE In May 1996, News of the Weird reported that Dr. Bryant Litchfield was on trial in Edmonton, Alberta, for improperly fondling eight female patients during examinations, including one instance of the so-called "Murphy's Maneuvre," in which the doctor, seated with the patient virtually in his lap, reaches around and feels her bare midriff. On June 14, a judge found Dr. Litchfield not guilty, concluding that his examinations were not so unusual that the patients couldn't be said to have consented to them. Just after the judge gave his decision, Edmonton police filed another charge against Litchfield based on the complaint of a female patient in April.
1992 -- In October, a British dermatologist reported that a 26-year-old female patient, involved in hormone therapy to get rid of excess facial hair, suddenly became sexually irresistible to her pet rottweiler. The doctor, writing in the medical journal The Lancet, said the dog "would not leave her alone" and attributed its behavior to changes in the woman's skin secretions.
1991 -- In June, a lawyer (not named in a news story) won a $3,000 settlement over an underwear purchase against the J.C. Penney store in Newport, Ore. The man claimed that, after he wore the shorts for the first time, a tag ("Inspected by No. 12") stuck to his penis so firmly that he could not remove it. After soapy water and rubbing alcohol failed, he went to a doctor, who removed the sticker with an adhesive dissolver. However, that caused a rash, and when it disappeared, it left a scar in the shape of the sticker. The settlement compensated him for lost work time and for marital strife.
1996 -- In August, the Hong Kong High Court referred a 50-year-old man to a psychiatric center for treatment after he was charged with indecent assault on his son's 20-year-old girlfriend. A medical report said the man suffered from a post-concussional disorder, which was blamed on a car accident in 1962.
1996 -- Breast Exams in the News: This month, the first of six pending lawsuits for improper diagnoses against Washington, D.C., physician Peter Kwon goes to trial. According to one patient, Kwon "examined my breasts no matter what I tell him is wrong." Kwon admitted he gives breast exams to every female patient if more than 30 days has elapsed since her previous breast exam.
1994 -- In November, Sharon Ryan, a former patient and employee of renowned diet doctor Walter Kempner, filed a lawsuit against him in Durham, N.C., alleging that they had a long-term affair during which he physically and emotionally abused her. Among the accusations was that Kempner spanked Ryan's bare buttocks with a riding crop. In December, Kempner, 91, said he once hit Ryan with a riding crop at her request because she said she needed punishment for failing to stick to the diet he had prescribed.
1996 -- Dr. Rolando Sanchez, the Tampa, Fla., surgeon with 15 minutes of fame last year for amputating the wrong foot of a diabetic patient, filed a claim against the city in March over a recent jogging accident, in which he fell into a hole cut away for a sprinkler system and broke his arm.
1997 -- Trial began in March in the lawsuit of Linda Jean Schneider, 49, against two physicians and the John Muir Medical Hospital near San Francisco, for their negligence in actually saving her life: Schneider has a slowly terminal, degenerative neurological disorder (Melas syndrome) that causes seizures, and she had wanted to die, but the doctors kept feeding and caring for her. She's now expected to live another 15 years, though with a poor quality of life.
1997- And in January, the Medical Board of California issued a public reprimand against Dr. Edward A. Thistlewaite of San Marino, Calif., for slapping a 9-year-old boy he was treating for attention deficit disorder.
1996 -- In December, employees of the Advanced Medical Imaging clinic in Newburgh, N.Y., forgot that Brenda Revella, 42, was in the claustrophobia-inducing MRI machine when they locked up for the night. (The patient lies in a tube 27 inches wide with the top of the tube only four inches from his or her face.) Revella managed to wiggle out three hours later.
1994 -- In March the Tennessee Health Department recommended a fine and additional sanctions against physician Mary Spaniard, who, said the Department, permitted her husband, who is also her office manager, to perform an unsupervised ultrasound test on a female patient in 1992. The test requires that the machine's probe be inserted into the patient's vagina.
1992 -- Recently, for almost a year, California's employment disability agency paid wealthy physician Gershon Hepner of Century City $266 a month on his stress claim. The district attorney believes Hepner's "stress" was brought on merely by his getting caught on fraud, grand theft and tax evasion charges to which he pleaded guilty and for which he is awaiting sentencing. State law entitled Hepner to the money because another physician certified that the stress was "job-related."
1996 -- Physician Bryant Litchfield went to trial in Edmonton, Alberta, in April on charges that he improperly fondled nine female patients during office exams. One of the women said Litchfield asked her to sit on him during a 1988 exam. (The case was originally brought in 1991, involving seven women. Litchfield's lawyer delayed the trial by asking an appeals court for separate trials for each charge, but the appeals court divided the case into only two trials: "above the waist" fondling charges and "below the waist" fondling charges. In 1991, Dr. Litchfield was found not guilty of the "below the waist" charges, but that verdict was set aside by Canada's Supreme Court, which ordered a new, combined trial and included two new complainants.)
1996 -- In January, The New York Times profiled physician Rubens Faria Jr., the latest in a line of Brazilians who claim to possess the soul of "Dr. Fritz," an inexplicably meaningful German physician who died during World War I, and who is said to have had magical healing powers. On a typical day, 800 people will wait up to 14 hours in line for an "office visit" that might last just 30 seconds.
1996 -- In June, a federal magistrate ordered physician Susan J. Powers to pay the government $292,000 for breaking her contract to provide medical care to underserved rural areas in exchange for the government's having funded her medical education. Powers tried to get out of the contract by claiming that she could not leave her "support network" of friends in the San Francisco Bay area, or she would become despondent and possibly suicidal.
1995 -- In November in Tampa, Fla., Paul Covani, 18, filed a lawsuit against his father, retired military physician Ricardo Covani, alleging years of abuse and humiliation. According to the lawsuit, Dr. Covani not only verbally abused his son but until recently systematically measured his son's body parts, took nude photographs of him to chronicle his growth, brushed his teeth at night, bathed him, and inspected his stools.
1991 -- Wayne McLaren, 49, filed a lawsuit in Santa Ana, Calif., in September against his physician, who McLaren says failed to diagnose his lung cancer in time for treatment. McLaren is a former male model who once portrayed the "Marlboro man" in cigarette ads and was a pack-and-a-half smoker for 25 years.
1992 -- In a recent medical paper, prominent Houston surgeon Louis Girard proposed "Castration as a Deterrent to Violent Crime." While that alternative has been around for a while, Girard's sub-theme is new: "For lesser crimes ... removal of one testicle or one ovary" would be better than removal of fingers or toes because partial castration would make the criminal more docile and would not affect his or her ability to work, allowing him or her to be returned to society.
1991 -- Miami cosmetic surgeon Ricardo Samitier (before now, known as "Dr. Lips") has begun to perform $2,000 designer-penis operations, to add thickness but not length. Samitier says he injects fat, then molds it "into the shape we want." He says some men get the operation "to look fuller inside their clothes" and others to spare their wives vagina-reduction surgery. He said he expects criticism from the medical profession because most doctors are male and have "deep-down insecurity about the size of their penises.
1996 -- In September, Michael Potkul, 33, won a $400,000 malpractice award against surgeon Dominic A. Brandy in Pittsburgh. Brandy had convinced Potkul that he could give him a nearly full head of hair by surgically (in six operations) grabbing the hairy back of his scalp and stretching it over the thin-haired top of his head. Potkul suffered such pain and depression by the fifth operation that he attempted suicide.
1991 -- Robert Martinique accused surgeon Ran Abrehemy of improperly installing a 9-inch penile implant, causing his penis to be bent and causing sex and urination to be painful. A urologist he consulted said the implant would have "expoloded" if not immediately removed. Martinique's subsequent implant was an inch shorter and feels fine
1997 -- Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Phoenix cosmetic surgeon Steven Locniker, on the lam for avoiding child-support charges, was arrested in September after he called attention to himself as Cosmopolitan magazine's "Bachelor of the Month."
1997 -- A December Associated Press dispatch touted the male baldness remedy of cosmetic surgeon Anthony Pignataro of West Seneca, N.Y.: hairpieces with tiny gold screws that snap onto titanium sockets implanted in the top of the skull, which fuse to the bone in about 12 weeks. Pignataro said he has about 100 customers and got his idea from what he said were commonplace (in his profession) snap-on eyes, ears, noses and fingers.
1997 -- In a Virginia case reported in the December Mental Health Law News, Susanna Van de Castle was awarded $350,000 against her psychiatrist-husband, Robert, for malpractice. According to the lawsuit, after having diagnosed her as suffering from multiple personality disorder, he then married her and continued the therapy but also sought deals for a book and a movie about her, in addition to staging public lectures (charging admission) in which she was showcased as his subject.