Dr. Fix-a-flat strikes again!


Syringe of unknown contents

 

 

 

Dr. Fix-a-flat (Oneal Morris) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has been re-arrested as more victims of his scam surgeries have come forward.

This arrest comes as other American cities, (most notably, Las Vegas) make a concerted push to protect consumers with a new campaign against fraudulent practices and unlicensed physicians.  However, these ‘campaigns’ are primarily informational commercials aimed at the Latino community.

There is a new statewide task force aimed at addressing these incidents, but as of yet – there have been no legislative changes to protect victims of these scams.  Equally disturbing, in at least one of these cases – one of the pretend doctors used his fake status to sexually assault his victims.

In another disturbing sidenote out of Nevada – Teva pharmaceuticals settled a case against them for the distribution of propofol outside of proper channels/ and in improper quantities.  (If you remember, this is how Dr. Conrad Murray obtained the anesthetic for use on Michael Jackson.)  As a result of this distribution of multi-use medications that should be exclusively used in hospital settings – several patients were inadvertently exposed to Hepatitis C (including the plaintiff who developed Hepatitis C as a result.)

[Multi-use vials mean that the same container of medication is used for multiple people – if the medication is drawn up using needles or other instruments that have already been exposed to patients – this places future patients in contact with blood and infectious agents.]   Multi-use vials are a cost-containment measure for many institutions.

I hope that someone takes issue with out-patient colonoscopies as a whole since this in itself can be a very dangerous practice – and the research proves it.  (The issue behind outpatient procedures such as colonoscopies is the use of unmonitored anesthesia.  Most patients aren’t on monitors, no anesthesiologist is present, and the doctors performing the procedure are often unprepared in the event that a patient loses his airway (or stops breathing.)  There was a landmark study several years ago – that showed that 70% of nonaesthesiologists underestimated the level of sedation in patients undergoing out-patient / office procedures.  [I will continue looking for the link to this source.]

Frighteningly, a related paper demonstrated similar findings in a pediatric population.  This South African paper voices similar concerns.

The Medical Tourism Association, Quality and Accountability


Over at the Traveling 4 Health blog, I’ve been talking to Ilene Little and reading about the Medical Tourism Association’s (MTA)newest publication promoting Las Vegas as a new medical tourism destination for both American and International patients.

The irony of this destination is highlighted by the city’s own newspaper, The Las Vegas Sun, which has an extensive series, ‘Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas’ detailing recent health scandals in Las Vegas hospitals, as well as 2010 reports ranking several of the facilities in Las Vegas among the worst in the nation.  In fact, the opening sentences in the article series are, ” There’s a running joke about hospitals here: “Where do you go for great health care in Las Vegas?”

“The airport.”

It’s a disappointing entry by an organization I admire – but unfortunately, it highlights the lack of accountability by medical tourism companies to their clients. Someone needs to care about the quality of the product (providers and services) that they are promoting.  Too bad it isn’t the MTA since they are certainly among the movers and shakers in the international medical tourism industry.  The rest of us are just tiny fish in a great big pond of obscurity.