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Entries in doctor (12)

Wednesday
May152013

Convicted Abortion Doctor Given Third Life Sentence

Hemera/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies, was sentenced Wednesday to a third life term.

Gosnell was handed two life sentences on Tuesday after a deal was struck with prosecutors, which spared him a potential death sentence. The third sentence was handed down on Wednesday. The 72-year-old was also sentenced to 2.5 to 5 years in prison for the 2009 overdose death of a female patient.

Gosnell was accused of performing late-term abortions on four babies who were born alive, but were then allegedly killed by Gosnell who "snipped" their spinal cords with scissors. He was cleared in the death of one of the infants.

The Philadelphia clinic run by Gosnell has been described as a "pill mill" for drug addicts by day, and an "abortion mill" by night. When Gosnell aborted the fetus of a teen who was nearly 30 weeks pregnant, he allegedly joked the baby was so big it could "walk to the bus."

The guilty verdicts against Gosnell came on Monday, the jury's tenth day of deliberations.

As part of the deal struck with prosecutors, Gosnell will serve three life sentences without the possibility of parole or the opportunity to appeal.

For two months, the jury heard often grisly testimony, including from members of Gosnell's staff. Eight staffers have pleaded guilty to several crimes. Prosecutors said none of the staff were licensed nurses or doctors.

Gosnell ran the Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia for decades until February 2010, when FBI agents raided his clinic looking for evidence of prescription drug dealing.

Instead they found, as reported in a nearly 300-page grand jury report released in 2011, a filthy, decrepit "house of horrors."

Blood was on the floor, the clinic reeked of urine and bags of fetal remains were stacked in freezers. The clinic was shut down and Gosnell's medical license was suspended after the raid.

Despite repeated complaints to state officials over the years -- as well as 46 lawsuits filed against Gosnell -- investigators said in the report that state regulators had conducted five inspections since the clinic had opened in 1979.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May042013

Pa. Doctor's Parents: 'She Could Not Have Harmed Herself'

Hemera/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Investigators have not yet confirmed the cause of a death of a prominent Pennsylvania neurologist whose autopsy revealed she had "toxic levels of cyanide" in her system, but her parents spoke out against the possibility that their daughter's death was a suicide.

"We cannot imagine someone harming our daughter, but from what we're told, she could not have harmed herself," Dr. Autumn Marie Klein's parents, William and Lois Klein told ABC News in a prepared statement.

Klein, 41, collapsed at her home in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and later died on April 20 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where she was chief of the division of women's neurology and an assistant professor of neurology, obstetrics and gynecology.

The FBI is working to assist the Pittsburgh police in the investigation, but said suicide has not been ruled out as Klein's cause of death.

While authorities said Klein's husband, Dr. Robert Ferrante, was not named a suspect in his wife's death, police executed a search warrant overnight to case the couple's home, which they shared with their six-year-old daughter, Cianna.

Investigators removed three vacuum cleaners and a computer tower and towed the couple's cars as neighbors still worked to process Klein's sudden death.

"We were stunned," Blithe Runsdorf told ABC's Good Morning America. "I mean she was young, she was vibrant, she has a young daughter. We were just stunned."

Klein worked at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Her husband, Dr. Robert Ferrante, 64, is a professor of neurological surgery at University of Pittsburgh.

A private investigation into Klein's death has also been launched, with prominent forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht at its helm.

"I have been privately retained, but I'm not able to give you any more information. But I have been privately consulted in this matter," Cyril Wecht told ABC News when asked if he was retained by Dr. Robert Ferrante or his attorney.

Neither Ferrante nor his attorney responded to requests for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec102012

Navy SEAL Killed in Raid to Free American Doctor from Taliban

John Moore/Getty Images (file photo)(WASHINGTON) -- One of the Special Operations troops involved in the raid to free an American doctor from the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan died of his wounds on Sunday.

A U.S. official confirmed the service member killed in the raid was a member of SEAL Team Six.

“I was deeply saddened to learn that a U.S. service member was killed in the operation, and I also want to extend my condolences to his family, teammates and friends,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement released on Sunday.  “The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy’s grip.  They put the safety of another American ahead of their own, as so many of our brave warriors do every day and every night.  In this fallen hero, and all of our special operators, Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld.  The torch of freedom burns brighter because of them.”

President Obama also praised the Special Operations force for their bravery.

“Yesterday, our special operators in Afghanistan rescued an American citizen in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day,” Obama said on Sunday.

“Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort,” he said.  “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families.  He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free.”

Dr. Dilip Joseph and two colleagues were kidnapped on Dec. 5 by a group of armed men while returning from a visit to a rural medical clinic in eastern Kabul Province, according to a statement from their employer, Colorado Springs-based Morning Star Development.  The statement said the three were eventually taken to a mountainous area about 50 miles from the border with Pakistan.

Morning Star’s crisis management team in Colorado Springs was in contact with the hostages and their captors almost immediately, the statement said.

On Saturday evening in Afghanistan, two of the three hostages were released.  Morning Star did not release their names in order to protect their identities.  Dr. Joseph remained in captivity.

Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, ordered the mission to rescue Joseph when “intelligence showed that Joseph was in imminent danger of injury or death”, according to a military press release.

Morning Star said Joseph was in good condition and will probably return home to Colorado Springs in the next few days.

A Defense Department official told ABC News that Joseph can walk, but was beaten up by his captors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

'Doctor of the Year' Arrested on DUI Charges After Crash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WELLESLEY, Mass.) -- A prominent emergency room doctor is facing driving under the influence charges after police say she sped through a Whole Foods parking lot and slammed into another car, sending one man to the Wellesley, Mass., emergency room where she works.

Police say Dr. Kristin Howard, 56, was behind the wheel Friday morning when they found class C and E controlled substances in her possession -- prescriptions that she allegedly wrote herself.  On Tuesday, Howard pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including driving under the influence and drug violations.

The man who was hit, 78-year-old Paul McDonald, was taken to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where Howard works. McDonald suffered two cracked ribs and a hematoma on his leg.

Howard was named Doctor of the Year in 2009, according to her lawyer. 

"I got hammered, and I thought it was the end of the world.  I thought a bomb went off inside the car," McDonald told ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV.  "The next day I thought I was in a street fight."

Video from a traffic light shows Howard's Subaru Outback barrel out of the Whole Foods grocery store parking lot shortly after 8:45 a.m.  The car traveled over the median, going airborne before crashing into the road striking McDonald's Mercury Marquis, which then slammed into a truck in the other lane.

Police say that when they stopped Howard she was still wearing scrubs and told them she was on her way to the hospital.  She then changed her story and told police she was heading home.  That's when police found the prescription drugs.

"Prescribed from Dr. Howard to Kristin Howard, which certainly raises some flags, your honor," prosecutor Matt Friedel said in court.

Massachusetts law forbids doctors from self-prescribing medication.  Howard's attorney told a judge that his client has been struggling with personal issues.

"She has a reputation for trying to save lives.  And was given the award of Doctor of the Year at Newton-Wellesley in 2009," defense attorney Katherine Hatch said.

Howard was released on her own recognizance Tuesday, but has been relieved of hospital duties.  She's been ordered to stay sober and will return to court Jan. 7.

As for McDonald, he's healing from his injuries and holds no grudge against Howard.

"Poor woman's probably got more problems than I'll ever have, so let it go with that," McDonald said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug282012

Utah Doctor Accused of Drowning Wife Appears in Court

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Utah doctor accused of killing his wife made his first court appearance on Monday and came face-to-face with his daughters, who say they always believed their father had a plan to kill their mother.

Martin MacNeill, 56, was formally charged in the death of his wife, Michele, in April 2007.  MacNeill has been held on $1 million bond at Utah County jail since Friday, and is due to return on Sept. 4 to choose an arraignment or an evidentiary hearing.

He has denied the allegations.

Two of his daughters and other family members held up pictures of their mother as they glared at their shackled father in the courtroom.

"She [Michele MacNeill] means so much to so many people and this is who he took away from everyone, this is our mother," MacNeill's daughter, Alexis Somers, said outside court.  "I think he drugged my mother and drowned her.  It's been horrifying, and horrifying that we had to wait for this day so long."

An initial autopsy report stated that Michele MacNeill, 50, had died of natural causes eight days after having a facelift.  Authorities now believe Martin MacNeill drugged and drowned his wife, who was found unconscious in the bathtub.  Prosecutors believe MacNeill gave his wife a dangerous combination of valium, Percocet and Ambien in an elaborate plot to kill her.

It's a twisted family tale that began when MacNeill, a father of seven, turned 50.  His daughters said he became obsessed with his looks and started to tan and exercise.  Their mother began to suspect an affair.  Then, MacNeill focused on his wife's looks, insisting she get a facelift.

While caring for her mother after the surgery, Somers said, she heard a bombshell days before her mother died.

"A few days before her death, I was helping her wash her hair and she turned to me and said, 'Alex, if anything happens to me, make sure it was not your father,'" Somers said.

On the day Michele MacNeill died, Martin MacNeill had arrived home after picking up his then 6-year-old daughter from school.  They found Michele in the bathtub.

In a series of screaming 911 calls, Martin McNeill hung up on the operator three times in five minutes.  During that time, prosecutors say, he removed his wife's pants, lied to the dispatcher about performing CPR and gave the wrong address of his residence, further delaying emergency responders.

"We know he's guilty," daughter Rachel MacNeill said.  "We know he'll harm again.  If he's let out, he will come after us."

MacNeill's attorney, Randy Spencer, said, "He's adamantly professed his innocence from the beginning and continues to do so.  I'm confident when all the evidence is heard that the jury will conclude he's not guilty."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun242012

San Diego Mother Goes From Welfare Recipient to ER Doctor

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- When Amanda Lamond discovered she was pregnant at 18 years old, many people doubted she would ever reach her dream of becoming a doctor.

But as Dr. Amanda Lamond-Holden prepared to take the stage Saturday night at a ceremony to celebrate the end of her residency at UCSD Medical Center, her son Braden, 15, was ready to clap the hardest.

"It's been a long journey," Lamond-Holden told ABCNews.com of her 16 years of schooling and raising children.

"Pretty much my whole life she's been studying to be a doctor and trying to raise me right, and I'm just really proud of her," Brayden told 10News, ABC's affiliate in San Diego.

She discovered she was pregnant in October of her freshman year of college, and withdrew to move back in with her parents and attend community college. Her mother stopped working so Lamond-Holden could go back to school, and CalWORKS, a welfare program, allowed her to work 20 hours a week in an outpatient surgery center.

During that time, people would suggest she go for a two-year certificate or just an undergraduate degree, but Lamond-Holden refused to sell herself short. She'd wanted to become a doctor since she was 16 and wasn't ready to give up.

Lamond-Holden went on to become valedictorian of her graduating class at San Diego Mesa College, and finish her education at University of California at San Diego and its medical school. Last year, during her residency at UCSD Medical Center, she was named chief resident.

Along the way, Lamond-Holden got married and had two more children, Joey, 9, and Benjamin, 1. Joey was born just before Lamond-Holden began medical school, and Benjamin was born during her third year of residency.

But Lamond-Holden wasn't always so sure she would reach her goal. When Joey was 6 months old and she was two months into medical school, she panicked.

"I was thinking, 'Oh my God, how am I going to balance this?'" she said.

So she sat down with UCSD School of Medicine Dean for Medical Education Maria Savoia.

"She talked to me about her struggles…and said 'You really have to keep your mind focused on that final goal,'" Lamond-Holden said.

Savoia suggested that Lamond-Holden take a year off, raise her kids and do some soul-searching. She did, and calls it "the best decision I ever made in my entire life."

"I had my children during residency and fellowship and felt supported -- this was when there were very few women in medicine and I was the first to have a child during training," Savoia said in an email to ABCNews.com. "I'm glad I was able to pay it forward."

Lamond-Holden will be starting as an emergency department attending physician at the Palomar Medical Center in August.

She said her sons helped her through medical school and vice versa. Being a mother taught her to multi-task and keep calm in stressful situations. Being an aspiring doctor helped her earn her children's respect and appreciation.

"They respect me so much because they see I've pushed hard to give them a good life," she said. "They kind of cringe and are surprised that I can deal with blood and guts."

Now that Lamond-Holden will have more regular hours, she said she'll be sure to visit local high schools and talk to students.

"I would like to go into high school and say, 'Hey, you guys can better yourselves. Just because you have a child doesn't mean you can't follow your dreams," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar042012

California Doctor Charged With Murder in Patient Overdoses

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A doctor in Los Angeles County was charged with murder after three of her patients died of prescription drug overdoses.

Dr. Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng, 42, an osteopathic physician in Rowland Heights, Calif., allegedly wrote an average of 25 prescriptions per day over the last three years for addictive painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, with little regard for her patients' medical histories, according to ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

It's rare that a physician is charged with murder when a patient dies in connection with his or her treatment, according to James Acker, a professor at the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany, SUNY.

"Far more typically, although still unusual, is to charge a physician with criminal homicide," a lesser charge, he said.

For example, Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the death of his patient, the singer Michael Jackson.

More than 200 physicians have been arrested or convicted in connection with patients' prescription drug overdoses since 2003, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"Where you are knowingly engaging in risky behavior, and it's likely that an adverse consequence such as a death will result, that's sufficient to consider it homicide," said Acker, who is not connected with the case.

Tseng was arrested Thursday and charged with murder in the deaths of Vu Nguyen, 29, of Lake Forest, on March 2, 2009; Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert, on April 9, 2009; and Joseph Rovero III, 21, an Arizona State University student from San Ramon, on Dec. 18, 2009, KABC-TV reported.

Prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 people in the United States in 2008, three times as many people as were killed by painkiller overdoses in 1999, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.

Many young people believe that prescription drugs are "much safer" than illegal drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In fact, some 7 million Americans aged 12 years and older reported in 2009 that they'd abused prescription drugs for non-medical purposes within the past month, a 13 percent increase from the 6.2 million who did so in 2008, according to the DEA.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley told KABC-TV that Tseng was prescribing medication that "was probably not needed at all, to feed someone's habit."

Undercover officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration had been posing as patients and investigating her practice for the last few years, while she was writing some 27,000 prescriptions starting in Jan. 2007, reported KABC-TV.

KABC-TV said the DEA suspended Dr. Tseng's license to write prescriptions in 2010, and she eventually surrendered her license to the Osteopathic Medical Board of California's Department of Consumer Affairs.

She is being held on $3 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on March 9, when she'll face some 21 other felony counts, including alleged fraud for prescribing drugs without a legitimate purpose, KABC-TV said.

Her husband, also a doctor, continues to run her clinic in Rowland Hills, reported KABC-TV. An assistant who answered the phone at the clinic said that Tseng's husband was not there and would not respond to ABCNews.com's request for comment.

Tseng's attorney, Peter Osinoff of the firm Bonne, Bridges, Mueller, O'Keefe & Nichols, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One mother, Jodi Barber, 52, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., said she knows all too well the tolls that prescription drug abuse can take on young lives.

After her 19-year-old son died of a prescription drug overdose in January 2010, she co-created documentary called "Overtaken" to shed light on the problem.

Barber said she was unaware of her son's short battle with painkillers until three months before his death. She said that one of her son's friend's gave him just a quarter of a pill, which they'd crush and snort, and which was enough to get him hooked.

Barber alleges that another friend of her son's who went to Tseng for drugs then sold them to her son; that boy died five months later, she said.

"These kids would go to her, and she'd give them 90 Opana [oxymorphone, a narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain]," Barber said.

She said she partially blames Tseng for her son's death.

"She's the professional, and she knows better," Barber said. "She overprescribed, and she prescribed deadly combinations."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb142012

Chicago Doctor Sentenced for Killing Patients with Prescription Drugs

Hemera/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- A Chicago doctor was sentenced to four life sentences Tuesday in Ohio for killing patients with prescription drugs.

From 2003 to 2005 federal prosecutors said there was no bigger dispenser of oxycodone than Paul Volkman, 64, a physician who distributed millions of addictive pills in exchange for cash.  Four people died as a result of the drugs he dealt, and a judge in Ohio sentenced Volkman to life in prison.   

Volkman maintains his innocence and says he always acted like a doctor, not a drug dealer.  He operated in a part of Ohio identified as one of the country's prime spots for painkiller abuse, and prosecutors said Volkman made the problem worse.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun202011

Weight Loss Guru Wanted by Feds on Insurance Fraud Charges

Federal Bureau of Investigation(CHICAGO) -- A doctor who advertised his weight loss clinics on Chicago TV for nearly a decade has attracted more attention than he wanted. Dr. Gautam Gupta is being sought by the FBI on charges that he defrauded insurance companies and the government out of $25 million.

Gupta, 57, may have fled to India, the FBI said.

"We are looking into every possibility as to where he fled. India is a possibility, but that's why we're asking the public to help us track him down or get any information on his whereabouts," an FBI spokesman said.

Gupta owns up to five Nutrition Clinics in Illinois. A federal criminal complaint accuses Gupta of mail fraud, health care fraud, and conspiracy. He faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

The criminal complaint alleges that Gupta and members of his staff submitted claims to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Insurance Company and the Illinois Medicaid program for unnecessary procedures or procedures that were never even performed. During the period of June 2001 through January 2010, the Nutrition Clinic was paid almost $25 million for such claims.

"Several patients stated that ultrasound tests were conducted on them before they came into contact with a physician or physician assistant. There would, therefore, be no way for the physician or assistant to determine if this patient had a condition, or symptoms of a condition, which would indicate an ultrasound test of any kind was needed," stated the complaint.

The complaint stated that staff members at times did not consult physicians when handing out weight loss drugs such as Phentermine or diuretics saying that "patients were required to return to the clinic once a week or once every other week in order to obtain more Phentermine or other controlled substances. During these return visits, the patients would have their weight or blood pressure taken by various females dressed in medical scrubs and would not leave the room in order to obtain a physician's permission or authorization to prescribe and dispense the drug or to increase or decrease the dosage."

Calls by ABC News to several of Gupta's nutrition centers were all routed to the same person who repeatedly said, "No comment," and hung up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun032011

Assisted Suicide Doctor Jack Kevorkian Dies 

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO(DETROIT) -- Jack Kevorkian, the enigmatic pathologist known as "Dr. Death" and "Jack the Dripper," who assisted in more than 130 suicides with his "mercy machine" leaves a legacy of activism and controversy.

The flamboyant doctor has died at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 83, according to his lawyer Mayer Morganroth. He'd been hospitalized for about two weeks for kidney and heart problems. A clot broke free from his left leg and lodged in his heart.

Kevorkian, whose tactics included fasting, appearing at a trial in Puritan-era stocks and protesting in a ball and chain, was at once lambasted and praised for his passionate belief in personal autonomy.

Today, partially as a result of his efforts, Oregon, Washington and Montana allow terminally ill patients to ask a doctor for a lethal amount of medication after a medical and psychological evaluation, but they have rejected Kevorkian's call for "death on demand."

Those who have pushed for more liberal laws and legislation in other states say there is no single advocate with the same riveting rhetoric who could have the same impact as Kevorkian.

"He started at a time when it was hardly talked about and got people thinking about the issue," said Philip Nitschke, founder and director of Exit International, which leads the worldwide right-to-die movement. "He paid one hell of a price and that is one of the hallmarks of true heroism."

That price was a murder conviction in 1999. Kevorkian served eight years in prison, but was released early on parole on the condition he would not kill again.

Kevorkian never married and had no children, but his niece, Ava Janus, was with him when died.

The doctor's mantra was "dying is not a crime," and he made national headlines with his invention -- the thanatron, Greek for suicide machine -- which gave patients a "dignified, humane and painless" death. A pull of the trigger released a drug to induce a deep coma. Once asleep, a timer would inject a lethal dose of potassium chloride to stop the heart.

Later, he used a "mercitron," or mercy machine, after his medical license was revoked after the first two deaths and he could no longer get the substances required for the thanatron.

Kevorkian became the face of the assisted suicide movement, which had its roots in the United States in the 1930s and gathered steam in the 1990s.

Kevorkian was born in Pontiac, Mich., the son of working-class parents who left Armenia after the genocide of 1915. He was trained as a pathologist and first got his name, Dr. Death, because of a 1956 paper he wrote about photographing the eyes of dying patients.

Kevorkian's lawyer said there were no plans for a memorial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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