Cardiologist tried to
have rival doctor killed
Associated Press
April 15, 2015

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A Long
Island cardiologist had the office
of another doctor torched, then
hired someone who turned out to
be an undercover police officer
in a failed attempt to have the
doctor hurt or killed, authorities
said Wednesday.

Dr. Anthony J. Moschetto
allegedly used drugs, guns and
blank prescriptions as currency
while trying to have the other
doctor harmed amid a
professional dispute,
investigators said. Moschetto
first allegedly hired two men to
set fire to the man's office; it
happened beneath a sprinkler
and damage was minimal,
prosecutors said.

"He was willing to pay $5,000 to
have him beaten and put in the
hospital for a couple of months
and pay $20,000 to have him
killed," Nassau County Assistant
District Attorney Anne Donnelly
said of Moschetto's intentions.
"He wanted to put him out of
business so he could get his

Acting District Attorney Madeline
Singas said "luckily for this
victim," Moschetto was stopped.

Investigators who went to
Moschetto's home in Sands
Point on Long Island's Gold
Coast — one of the nation's
wealthiest areas — found a
weapons cache in a secret room
that was accessed through a
motorized bookshelf, they said.
The weapons, which included
dozens of knives, guns and a
hand grenade, were displayed at
a news conference Wednesday.
Possible charges for the stash
have not yet been announced.

The investigation into Moschetto
started with the purchase of
Oxycodone pills, heroin and two
fully loaded assault weapons.
Prosecutors said Moschetto had
paid the undercover police
officer $500 to perform a hit
before getting arrested. He was
caught on undercover video
discussing the alleged plot.
View gallery
Cardiologist Anthony Moschetto,
right, 54, from the …
Cardiologist Anthony Moschetto,
right, 54, from the Long Island
town of Sands Point, is escorted
fro …

Moschetto pleaded not guilty to
conspiracy and other charges at
his arraignment Wednesday. He
left court after posting a $2
million bond and declined to
comment. He's due back in court
on April 17.

His attorney, Randy Zelin, said
the alleged victim was
Moschetto's former partner. He
was identified in court as Martin
Handler. Two orders of
protection were issued — one
for Handler and one for his wife
— that bar Moschetto from
contacting them, a prosecutor
said. Handler did not immediately
return a message seeking

Outside the courthouse, Zelin
said his client would be
"defending himself vigorously."
He declined to specify the nature
of the dispute, but said it
stemmed from what he described
as a "business divorce" between
Moschetto and Handler.

Two other defendants are
charged in the case, accused of
their involvement in the office
fire, which occurred before the
undercover investigation began.
They, along with Moschetto, had
been arrested Tuesday.

"Dr. Moschetto is a hidden
monster living in the North Shore
area who has no respect for law
and life," said Nassau County
Police Department Acting
Commissioner Thomas
Krumpter. "He had enough
weapons to provide a small army
means to wreak harm."

The Drug Enforcement
Administration also was involved
in the investigation, which began
in December.
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Thousands of doctors practicing
despite errors, misconduct

Dangerous doctors allowed to keep

Thousands of doctors are able to
continue practicing despite records
of serious misconduct that puts
patients at risk. Many of those
doctors have had their clinical
privileges restricted or taken away
by hospitals, HMOs and other
health care institutions, but their
state medical boards have taken no
action against their licenses to
USA TODAY analysis of the U.S.
government's National Practitioner
Data Bank public use file; data
include reports filed from Sept. 1,
1990-March 31, 2013
Frank Pompa, Alex Gonzalez and
Barbara Hansen, USA TODAY
Peter Eisler and Barbara Hansen
August 20, 2013

Story Highlights

Hundreds of doctors with multiple
malpractice claims still have their
Weak oversight by state medical
boards has been a concern for
Cracking down on bad doctors can
take years; meantime, they keep
treating patients

Dr. Greggory Phillips was a familiar
figure when he appeared before the
Texas Medical Board in 2011 on
charges that he'd wrongly
prescribed the painkillers that killed
Jennifer Chaney.

The family practitioner already had
faced an array of sanctions for
mismanaging medications — and
for abusing drugs himself. Over a
decade, board members had fined
him thousands of dollars, restricted
his prescription powers, and placed
his medical license on probation
with special monitoring of his

They also let him keep practicing

In 2008, a woman in Phillips' care
had died from a toxic mix of pain
and psychiatric medications he had
prescribed. Eleven months later,
Chaney died.

Yet it took four more years of
investigations and negotiations
before the board finally barred
Phillips from seeing patients, citing
medication errors in those cases
and "multiple" others.

"If the board had moved faster, my
daughter would still be alive," says
Chaney's mother, Bette King, 72.
"They knew this doctor had all these
problems … (and) they did nothing
to stop him."

Mari Robinson, executive director of
the Texas medical board, says the
Phillips case took "longer than
normal, but we followed what we
needed to do (by law)." Phillips
could not be reached for comment.

Despite years of criticism, the
nation's state medical boards
continue to allow thousands of
physicians to keep practicing
medicine after findings of serious
misconduct that puts patients at
risk, a USA TODAY investigation
shows. Many of the doctors have
been barred by hospitals or other
medical facilities; hundreds have
paid millions of dollars to resolve
malpractice claims. Yet their medical
licenses — and their ability to inflict
harm — remain intact.

The problem isn't universal. Some
state boards have responded to
complaints and become more
transparent and aggressive in
policing bad doctors.

But state and federal records still
paint a grim picture of a physician
oversight system that often is slow
to act, quick to excuse problems,
and struggling to manage workloads
in an era of tight state budgets.
Dereliction of Duty by a Gynecologist
Turned Congressman

Congressman Burgess (R-TX): Power
Morcellators not recalled by FDA, “SO
Hooman Noorchashm and Amy Reed
July 9, 2015

On July 8, 2015 the House of Representatives Rules
Committee killed the Fitzpatrick Amendments to a
major healthcare bill, known as “21st Century Cures”,
scheduled for a general assembly vote on July 9,

You can watch the killing of Fitzpatrick’s amendments
on this video, at 3:58:04.

The Fitzpatrick amendments had resulted from the
congressman’s full recognition of the “power
morcellator” disaster in women’s health as a
bellwether failure of the FDA’s medical device section
to keep the American public safe. The faces of harm
are clearly in our federal government’s view.

Congressman Burgess (R-TX), himself a
gynecological surgeon, effectively dismantled and
killed the Fitzpatrick amendments in the Rules

Incredibly, Burgess admitted that his colleagues in
gynecology had failed at their professional duty to
protect their patients from the spread of cancer. You
can watch Burgess’ acknowledgment that this was a
failure on the part of gynecologists at this video, at 4:

But, in an astonishing diatribe, Burgess argued that
congress had no role in evaluating the root cause of
this deadly failure and that professionals should be
left to deal with this egregious problem.

Most disturbing, however, was Burgess’ arrogance in
stating that if FDA has failed to remove or regulate
“power morcellators” from the market “SO BE IT!”.

You can watch this outrageous dereliction of
congressional duty by Representative Burgess on
this video, at 4:12:44.

The amendments proposed by Congressman Mike
Fitzpatrick (R-PA), were aimed at drawing attention
and eliminating a severe public health hazard and a
deadly failure at FDA. You can read about this public
health hazard created by the Food and Drug
Administration here.

Buried in the “21st Century Cures” bill is a series of
provisions for the medical device industry, which will
very definitely leave that industry even less safe and
more dangerously regulated than it currently is.

Congressman Burgess’ position is particularly
incorrect and disturbing because he admits that the
gynecological surgeons have failed and harmed
many women, he admits that FDA has not done its
job to protect patient – and his response is “SO BE

Congressman Burgess’ response as a republican
member of congress and a doctor himself represents
a severe dereliction of congressional duty to the
American people.

Burgess’ over-confident statement “SO BE IT” from
the House Rules Committee will cost more American
lives, and more lost health insurance dollars –
because on July 8, 2015 he killed a series of
amendments that could have opened up congress to
protecting American patients from a severe “home-
grown” threat.

The sad shame is that Burgess’ is considered a
conservative member of the “Tea party”, proclaiming
to be a champion for the people's voice and for a
more efficient and just federal government – that
seems to mean that he is willing to keep a blind eye
to professionals and the FDA causing the
preventable sacrifice of American lives to the altar of
corporate interests.

And that is fully shameful!

Our many thanks continue to go to Congressman
Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) for his courage and clarity in
standing as a lone conservative voice of reason in a
congress seemingly gone blind in the face of money
and industry lobby power.

We, and many of his constituents and patients
harmed across the United States, now ask that he
vote “NO” on the “21st Century Cures”, on principle
and on conscience.

Hooman Noorchashm and Amy Reed, husband-and-
wife physicians, have campaigned to ban electric
morcellators since December 2013, soon after Reed’
s unsuspected uterine cancer was spread by the
device during a routine hysterectomy.

Read more at http://www.philly.
"The children are caught up in a
highly contentious divorce case
that began more than five years
ago between their father, Omer
Tsimhoni, an internationally
prominent traffic safety
researcher and GM engineer
who works frequently from a GM
research lab in Israel, and their

mother, a pediatric eye
doctor and widely known
glaucoma researcher who
is an assistant professor
of ophthalmology at the
University of Michigan
and has an office in

Judge jails kids for
refusing lunch with dad
Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press
July 9, 2015

DETROIT — Three children who
refused to go to lunch with their
father, as part of a bitter divorce
and custody battle between their
parents, are spending their
summer in a juvenile detention
center, according to court

"We'll review it when school
starts, and you may be going to
school there," Oakland County
Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca
told the children during a June
24 hearing, referring to the
center in Waterford Township
called Children's Village, where
authorities house as many as
200 juvenile offenders.

Gorcyca, who blamed their
mother for poisoning the
children's attitude toward their
father, ordered the children be
sent to the center for defying her
orders — while in court — that
they go to lunch with their father.

The children — ranging in age
from 9 to 14 — were deemed in
contempt of court last month by
Gorcyca for disobeying her
orders to "have a healthy
relationship with your father."

The oldest boy told the judge
during the hearing that he
apologized for "whatever I did to


Couple fight for custody of
children after home birth

"But I do not apologize for — for
not talking to him because I have
a reason for that and that's
because he's violent and he — I
saw him hit my mom and I'm not
gonna talk to him," the boy said,
later telling the judge, "I didn't do
anything wrong."

"No, you did," Gorcyca replied.
"You — I ordered you to talk to
your father. You chose not to talk
to your father. You defied a
direct court order. It's direct
contempt, so I am finding you
guilty of civil contempt."

After sending the older boy to
Children's Village, Gorcyca gave
the two younger children — a 10-
year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl
— a chance to go to lunch with
their father in the courtroom
cafeteria, but they refused.

"I'll go with my brother then," the
10-year-old told the judge.

Speaking about the children to
their mother, Dr. Maya Eibschitz-
Tsimhoni, Gorcyca was vehement.
Oakland County Children's
Village seen on Thursday,

Oakland County Children's
Village seen on Thursday, July 9,
2015 in Pontiac, MI.  (Photo:
Salwan Georges, Detroit Free

"Your children — you need to do
a research program on Charlie
Manson and the cult that he has.
Your behavior in the hall with me
months ago, your behavior in this
courtroom ... is unlike anything
I've ever seen in 46,000 cases,"
said Gorcyca, who has a young
son and is known for her
normally pleasant demeanor in

The judge told the mother she
could not visit her children this
summer, according to a court
transcript of the hearing.

Referring to the contempt orders
and sending the trio of kids to
summer behind institutional walls,
Gorcyca told the older sibling: "I
wanted to do this because of
your horrific behavior a long time
ago and your dad begged me not
to. ... One day you are going to
realize what's going on in this
case and you're going to
apologize to your dad."

The two boys and their sister
each had a court-appointed
lawyer at the hearing, according
to records. But the attorneys said
the children refused to cooperate
and, in some cases, wouldn't talk
to their lawyers. The attorneys
for the children did not object to
Gorcyca's order.

"Your dad is a good man. And
wipe that smirk off your face,"
Gorcyca said to the 10-year-old,
as both he and his sister defied
the judge's order to have lunch
with their dad.

The children are caught up in a
highly contentious divorce case
that began more than five years
ago between their father, Omer
Tsimhoni, an internationally
prominent traffic safety
researcher and GM engineer
who works frequently from a GM
research lab in Israel, and their
mother, a pediatric eye doctor
and widely known glaucoma
researcher who is an assistant
professor of ophthalmology at
the University of Michigan and
has an office in Canton.
How Whistle-Blower Helped Expose Michigan Cancer Doctor
Who Mistreated Patients
Jul 10, 2015
ABC News

Dr. Farid Fata Michigan Hematology Oncology, P.C.

An office manager for Dr. Farid Fata, the Michigan oncologist convicted of
misdiagnosing hundreds of patients to defraud insurance companies, revealed
details of how staffers helped expose the doctor’s crimes.

George Karadsheh, who worked for Dr. Farid Fata’s Crittenton Cancer Center in
Rochester Hills, Michigan, said he started asking questions after staffers kept
leaving the practice. When Karadsheh learned that a different oncologist in the
practice was quitting, he said the doctor told him it was because Fata was
administering chemotherapy to patients who didn’t need it.

“[This doctor] explained that Dr. Fata was actually administering chemotherapy to
patients without need,” Karadsheh told ABC News "Nightline." “He was also
explaining that patients who were on hospice were taken off hospice and put on
chemotherapy, put back on chemotherapy. He also pointed out that patients who
were receiving chemotherapy without disease were receiving it to the very last day
of life. So at that point I discovered that there may be some issues there.”

Michigan Doctor Who Mistreated Cancer Patients Sentenced to 45 Years

Victims Calls Former Michigan Cancer Doc 'Monster and Master of Deceit' At

Michigan Oncologist Accused of Bilking Government Out of $35M in False Medicare

Fata was a trusted oncologist in the community. He was trained at Memorial Sloan-
Kettering in New York and founded Michigan Hematology and Oncology, Inc., the
state's largest private cancer practice at the time of his arrest.

"It was so difficult to believe," Karadsheh said. "Here is a physician whose
background is second to none in Michigan... I had never had a patient complain that
there was a problem with a reaction to a drug or whether it was necessary."

But in 2013, after Karadsheh found out what was going on, he spoke to the U.S.
Department of Justice. On Aug 6, 2013, FBI agents arrested Fata and stormed the
Crittenton Cancer Center.

Fata, 50, was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison today after pleading guilty last
year to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges.

“I’m relieved that Dr. Fata has been held accountable,” Karadsheh said. “But I’m
also very sad because I feel the patients endured pain and suffering that’s going to
last far longer than the sentence that was imposed upon Dr. Fada.”

At least 553 victims had been identified, with Fata often prescribing treatments for
cancer they didn’t have.

“I have never seen a case anywhere close to this,” Barbara McQuade, the U.S.
Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan told ABC News. “We have a lot of cases
involving Medicare fraud here where doctors submit fraudulent billings but those
cases really are all about money. This case was unique in that it was really about
patient harm and really harm that was unimaginable.”

In the Detroit federal courthouse Fata sobbed as he spoke prior to sentencing.
Speaking to victims of his treatment and their families in attendance, Fata said he
had violated the Hippocratic oath and caused "anguish, hardship and pain."

"I misused my talents, yes, and permitted this sin to enter me because of power and
greed," Fata told the court.

Earlier this week numerous former patients spoke against the doctor. Some of the
victims who spoke never had cancer, others were over-treated and some had
treatment for different cancers than the ones for which they were diagnosed
because it brought in more money.

One of those victims was 53-year-old Monica Flagg.

“I was feeling fine,” Flagg told "Nightline." “I continued to feel fine until I started some
of my treatments with him.”

Monica Flagg was one of more than 550 patients Dr. Farid Fata misdiagnosed with

Flagg said Fata diagnosed her with myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in bone
marrow, in July 2012. She said she endured multiple rounds of unnecessary testing,
bone marrow biopsies, medication and one chemo treatment under his care.

“Other than the physical, or the emotional stress, I don’t know what side effects are
anymore,” she said. “It’s very disturbing.”

When Fata gave her the diagnosis, Flagg said he reassured her that they had
caught the cancer early but that she would need “a lifetime maintenance dose of

“Everybody we knew loved him and I just, from the day I met him, did not like him,”
she said.

Flagg said she continued treatment with Fata over several months. On July 1, 2013,
the same day Flagg said she had her first and only chemo treatment, she said she
tripped over a suitcase on her bedroom floor and broke her leg, which landed her in
the hospital. Another doctor in Fata’s practice happened to be doing rounds on Fata’
s patients that same Fourth of July weekend and reviewed Flagg’s chart. That’s
when he told Flagg she had never had cancer.

“He read my chart, looked at me very strangely, I’ll never forget the look that he had
when he looked at me,” Flagg said. “He came back the following day and said to me,
‘I want you to know, I work for Dr. Fata. You’re 51, you’re extremely active, you’re a
professional, you don’t have cancer and you need to not ever go back to Dr. Fata.”

After months of feeling like something was wrong, Flagg said she was “ecstatic” to
hear that she was cancer-free, and then angry to learn that she had been healthy
all along. There are many nights, she said, that she still gets upset thinking about
her ordeal.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” she said. “I did one chemo treatment. The others did so
many that they’re practically dead anyway.”

When asked if he feels like a hero, Karadsheh said the patients are the real heroes.

“They had to endure incredible, horrific treatments that left them incapable of having
normal lives and some actually did not recover,” he said.

ABC News' Ron Claiborne, Brandon Baur, Catherine Cole and Gillian Mohney
contributed to this report

Leading Psychologists Secretly Aided U.S. Torture Program
By Rupert Stone 7/10/15 at 7:44 PM
The U.S. Shouldn't Torture: Opinion

Updated | Top psychologists and senior officials at the American Psychological
Association (APA) secretly collaborated with the Bush administration’s interrogation
programs, according to a damning, independent report by David H. Hoffman, a
Chicago-based lawyer.  

The 542-page report, which was obtained by The New York Times and published on
its website for the first time on Friday, was commissioned last November by the APA’
s board to investigate allegations made in James Risen’s 2014 book, Pay Any Price.
In the book, Risen says senior APA officials clandestinely worked with high-ranking
members of the CIA and Department of Defense to help justify the Bush
administration’s interrogation program.

The report, which seems to confirm findings in a separate report released earlier this
year, is based on hundreds of interviews, an “immense volume” of internal APA
documents and materials provided by former APA officials and association critics.
Hoffman did not have access to classified material, and his report is unredacted.
When reached by email, the APA, the largest professional body of psychologists in
the U.S., which lobbies for funding and sets ethical standards for most American  
practitioners, pointed Newsweek to a statement and list of recommendations online.

It’s long been known that health professionals played a key role in legitimizing and
implementing the CIA’s and Defense Department’s interrogation programs. The
Department of Justice mandated, in a series of now-notorious “torture memos,” that
doctors and psychologists monitor detainees’ health during interrogations to ensure
interrogators did not break the law by inflicting torture or abuse.

Last December, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Study of the CIA’s
Detention and Interrogation Program showed that the agency’s “enhanced
interrogation techniques” were designed and administered by psychologists James
Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, both of whom were contractors. In another report from
2009, the Senate Armed Services Committee also found that Department of Defense
psychologists at Guantanamo Bay helped interrogators break prisoners by
identifying their mental vulnerabilities.

Yet Friday’s report shows how the ties between the psychological profession and the
American intelligence community went deeper than previously recognized. It finds
that top officials at the APA, especially its ethics director Stephen Behnke,
collaborated with figures at the Department of Defense to align the association’s
ethics policies with the needs of the Pentagon’s interrogation program. Hoffman
does not claim that APA officials knew the reality of the “enhanced interrogation
program,” but does find that “APA officials were colluding with DoD officials to create
and maintain loose APA ethics policies that did not significantly constrain DoD.” The
APA has repeatedly denied any collusion with the administration.

“The most disturbing aspect of this whole episode is that it was run out of the APA’s
ethics office,” says Steven Reisner, a psychologist and psychoanalyst who ran three
times for the APA presidency and has long campaigned against the association’s
involvement in interrogations. “It's not just that they sold out APA's ethical standards
to collude with the needs of the government,” adds Reisner, who aided Hoffman’s
investigation. “What's unconscionable is the fact that this was done in support of
torture and abuse.”

The American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, two other
important professional associations, eventually barred their members from any
involvement in interrogations. But the APA held fast, affirming psychologist
participation at a key 2005 task force which, the report shows, was carefully
managed by APA officials in conjunction with the administration. Later, senior APA
officials “engaged in a pattern of secret collaboration with DoD officials” to stifle
opposition to association policies from within the APA, according to Hoffman’s report.
Behnke also “regularly sought and received pre-clearance” for the association’s
public statements from a senior military psychologist at the Pentagon, according to
the report. While working at the APA, the report says the Pentagon gave Behnke a
secret contract to help train interrogators. He also coordinated a public relations
campaign with the Pentagon to better sell psychologists’ involvement in
interrogations, and killed ethics complaints, the report shows.

“An especially disturbing aspect of this scandal is the way in which a supposedly
independent civil society organization and profession were corrupted by involvement
with the military and intelligence establishment,” says Stephen Soldz, a professor at
Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, who assisted Hoffman’s investigation.
“This is not the way our democracy is supposed to work.”

“This is the single greatest health professional ethics scandal of the 21st century,”
says Nathaniel Raymond, formerly the director of the campaign against torture at
Physicians for Human Rights and currently the director of the Signal Program on
Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative of the
Harvard Chan School of Public Health. “It represents the most egregious example of
a health professional organization allowing the national security apparatus to
determine its ethics,” adds Raymond, who cooperated with Hoffman’s investigation.

The report indicates that CIA officials, including the head of the agency’s office of
medical services, objected to the involvement of psychologists in the “enhanced
interrogation program” on ethical grounds. But prominent psychologists outside the
CIA, including two former APA presidents, stifled their protests. One, Joseph
Matarazzo, wrote a memo concluding that sleep deprivation did not constitute
torture. He later went on to own a stake in Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, a private
company set up by the architects of the interrogation program.

The report also offers details missing from the Senate’s report on torture, showing
how Mitchell, who created the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, was
introduced to the agency’s counterterrorism center by Kirk Hubbard, former head of
the operational assessment division at Langley. Having brought Mitchell to the CIA,
Hubbard later went on to work at Mitchell and Jessen’s private company.

Mark Fallon, a former federal agent and chair of the research committee of
President Barack Obama's High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which
conducts interrogations of high-value terror suspects and sponsors research into
interrogation techniques, is particularly troubled by what he calls this conflict of
interest. "It would seem further investigation is required,” Fallon says. “Government
officials act on behalf of the people and are accountable to the people. We also
have legal obligations internationally for accountability."

Several senior APA officials mentioned in the report are still working at the
association. Behnke has reportedly left his position, and the association appears to
be on the verge of crisis. Raymond believes it is “highly likely” more will lose their
jobs as a consequence of Hoffman’s findings, and that the “wave of accountability”
could spread to Bush and Obama administration officials, even though, so far, no
high-ranking official has been fired or prosecuted for involvement in prisoner abuse.
The APA board has reportedly received the report and is expected to act on its
findings shortly.
ProPublica published a years-
long i
nvestigation into the
individual complication rates of
17,000 surgeons across the
nation, and opened the entire
data set in a
scorecard. But ex-surgeon
Skeptical Scalpel isn't entirely

In fact, physician ratings of any
type can't be taken too
seriously, according to
Skeptical Scalpel in a separate
post, noting that he was just
named a "Leading Physician of
the World" despite having
been retired for 2 years.

Background Stories
How Many Die From Medical
Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?

An updated estimate says it
could be at least 210,000
patients a year – more than
twice the number in the
Institute of Medicine’s
frequently quoted report, “To
Err is Human.”
The Two Things That Rarely
Happen After a Medical Mistake

Patients seldom are told or get
an apology when they are
harmed during medical care,
according to a new study
based on results from
ProPublica's Patient Harm
We’re Still Not Tracking Patient

Top patient-safety experts call
on Congress to step in and,
among other steps, give the
Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention wider
responsibility for measuring
medical mistakes.

Read the entire
series »
Medicine's Dark Side: Docs' Bad Behavior Exposed
by Rachael Rettner
Live Science
August 17, 2015

Two shocking accounts of doctors behaving inappropriately while their patients were
under anesthesia came to light in an essay published today in a respected medical

The reason for publishing these accounts is to expose "dark underbelly" of medicine,
and to encourage health professionals to speak up when they see such inappropriate
behavior, according to the editors of the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine.

"By shining a light on this dark side of the profession, we emphasize to physicians
young and old that this behavior is unacceptable — we should not only refrain from
personally acting in such a manner but also call out our colleagues who do," the
editors said today (Aug. 17). [7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe]

In the essay, an anonymous author described one day when he was teaching a
medical humanities class to medical students. He asked the class, "Do any of you
have someone to forgive from your clinical experiences? Did anything ever happen
that you need to forgive or perhaps still can't forgive?"

One medical student, named David in the essay, spoke up and said that something
happened to him that he can't forgive. He said he was helping with a vaginal
hysterectomy, a surgery in which a woman's uterus is removed through the vagina.
Before the surgery began, the surgeon cleaned the anesthetized woman's vaginal
area and inner thighs. Then the surgeon looked at David and said, "I bet she's
enjoying this," with a wink and a laugh.

Recounting the story in his medical humanities class, David said he was incredibly
angry when he witnessed the incident. "I was just standing there trying to learn," he
said. "The guy was a dirtball."

The author asked David if he went along with the joke and laughed as well. David said
that at the time, he did pretend to laugh. Then he asked his teacher, the author, if
he'd ever been in a similar situation.

The author was silent for a time, but then admitted that he had been in a similar
situation, when he was a medical student himself.

The author recounted the story for his class: He had just helped to deliver a baby girl,
when the new mother — named Mrs. Lopez in the essay — started to bleed profusely
from her vagina. The author called for the obstetrician, named Dr. Canby in the
essay, to attend to the patient.

Dr. Canby said the patient had uterine atony, a condition in which the muscles in the
uterus do not contract properly after delivery, which causes hemorrhaging. The
patient was put under anesthesia, and Dr. Canby placed his left hand inside the
vagina to massage the uterus, a procedure that can help the uterus contract. Soon,
the woman's uterus contracted, and her bleeding stopped.

"He says something like, 'Atta girl. That's what I like. A nice, tight uterus,'" the author

“But then something happened that I'll never forget," the author continued. "Dr. Canby
raises his right hand into the air. He starts to sing 'La Cucaracha.' He sings, 'La
Cucaracha, la cucaracha, dada, dada, dada-daaa.' It looks like he is dancing with her.
He stomps his feet, twists his body, and waves his right arm above his head. All the
while, he holds her, his whole hand still inside her vagina. He starts laughing. He
keeps dancing. And then he looks at me. I begin to sway to his beat. My feet shuffle. I
hum and laugh along with him. Moments later, the anesthesiologist yells, 'Knock it off,
[expletive]!' And we stop."

The editors of Annals of Internal Medicine said that this essay should make readers'
stomachs churn.

"The first incident reeked of misogyny and disrespect — the second reeked of all that
plus heavy overtones of sexual assault and racism," the editors said, writing in the

When incidents like this happen in medicine, health professionals may remain silent or
feel pressure to go along with the joke of a superior.

"If the essay gives just one physician the courage to act like the anesthesiologist in
this story, then it will be well worth publishing," the editors said.

"We hope that medical educators and others will use this essay as a jumping-off point
for discussions that explore the reasons why physicians sometimes behave badly and
brainstorm strategies for handling these ugly situations in real time," they said.
Surgeon who wrote of becoming killer is denied bail
By NAOMI MARTIN nmartin@dallasnews.com
21 August 2015

Long before he faced lawsuits and criminal charges, a North Texas neurosurgeon
emailed one of his employees.

“I am ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with
everything else that I am and become a cold blooded killer,” Christopher Duntsch wrote.

To authorities, the chilling Dec. 11, 2011, email points to Duntsch’s mind-set in the
months before he “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly” botched spinal surgeries,
severely injuring four people and killing one woman, Floella Brown, who died in July

The email was among new evidence Dallas County prosecutors presented against
Duntsch at a hearing Friday in which Criminal District Judge Carter Thompson refused
to reduce Duntsch’s $600,000 bail.

“I am very well-pleased that he will remain in jail and that justice will eventually be
served for the crimes that he has committed,” said Philip Mayfield, 45, who awoke
paralyzed from the neck down in April 2013 after Duntsch performed surgery on his

Duntsch, 44, was arrested July 21 on five counts of aggravated assault causing
serious bodily injury and a count of injuring an elderly person. He performed those
procedures at Dallas Medical Center, South Hampton Community Hospital and
University General Hospital.

Dallas police said in a search warrant affidavit that he is also under investigation in the
botching of at least 10 other patients’ surgeries in Plano and Dallas that occurred from
November 2011 through June 2013. Duntsch “knowingly takes actions that place the
patients’ lives at risk,” police said, such as causing extreme blood loss by cutting a
major vein and then not taking proper steps to correct it.

In one case, Duntsch left a surgical sponge inside a man's body. During that same
surgery, another doctor forced him to stop operating because of his “unacceptable
surgical technique,” the affidavit said.
License revoked

Duntsch’s medical license was revoked in December 2013 after the Texas Medical
Board found he had a pattern of failing to follow proper procedures before operations
or respond to complications that caused at least two deaths.

Prosecutors argued that Duntsch’s bail should remain high because he could flee
Dallas or harm others if free. They also said he could try to apply again for a medical
license. Before his arrest, Duntsch was living with his parents and grandparents in

“All he has here are his medical peers that have shunned him and the media that is
following him around and a whole bunch of victims that he has hurt and his civil and
criminal cases,” said prosecutor Michelle Shughart. “He has every reason to flee the

Shughart asked Duntsch’s father if his son was trying to get his medical license

“I guess that’s probably true,” Donald Duntsch said. “I knew that was an intention of his
at some point, in light of what happened, that he would be able to practice again as a

Wearing glasses and a gray, striped jail jumpsuit, Duntsch glanced down and at his
father as he sat beside his attorney, Robbie McClung.

The attorney argued Duntsch had no money to flee — he has filed for bankruptcy —
and would stay in Texas, particularly because his two young sons live in the state. She
also argued he should never have been criminally charged, since he made honest

“The oath he took was to be a doctor,” McClung told the judge. “He screwed it up. He
hurt people he was trying to help.”

Duntsch has claimed to be a victim of misunderstandings, rival surgeons and personal
injury lawyers. He told The Dallas Morning News in a 2014 story about the accusations
that “99 percent of everything that has been said about me is completely false.”

But in that startling 2011 email to his employee, Duntsch wrote: “how can I do anything
I want and cross every disclipline boundary like it’s a playground and never ever