In early February, I posted about West Virginia physician, John A. King , who had managed to generate 124 medical malpractice lawsuits during the short time he was on staff at Putnam General Hospital.
It turns out that Dr. King also generated considerable, and illegal fees for himself, courtesy of the medical device makers whose products Dr. King installed into patients during surgeries. On this blog, we call those fees “kickbacks.” The Charleston Gazette reports that several of the 124 lawsuits named as codefendants Wright Medical Technology, Inc. and EBI, Inc., both of which supplied devices used by King during the suspect surgeries. Wright's bone-fusion compound had not even worked in animals, nor had EBI's vertebral spacers. The patients were never informed they were being treated with experimental devices.
Of course, it gets worse. Dr. King filed for bankruptcy once he saw the legal writing on the wall. Then, he defrauded the Bankruptcy Court by claiming, in December, 2007, that he had no checking or savings accounts, no firearms, clothing furs, jewelry or monthly income. All he had to his name, he said, was the value of of 1993 Volvo. Now, a bankruptcy judge who caught on to Dr. King's scheme of hiding his actual assets from the court has denied Dr. King the benefits of his bankruptcy filing. It turns out that Dr. King had been making regular deposits into his mother's bank account, and had secreted hundreds of thousands of his own dollars into “The Bonemaker Trust” (yes, that is its true name).
Meantime, the State of Virginia has a dark secret that is secret no longer. It fails to adequately discipline its physicians. The poster boy for Virginia's broken system is Dr. Stephen Plotnick, a rheumatologist who specialized in pain management. 10 of his patients have died since 2004, and it took 5 years before he was forced to surrender his license for 2 years.
If you're headed south to Florida in the near future, do yourself a favor and fly there. If you must drive, don't stop in Virginia or West Virginia, if you know what's good for you.