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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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The "Snake-Oil Salesman" Surgeon Who Bankrupted The Hospital

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One of many lawsuits against Dr. John King alleges that King “operated on fractures that did not exist, used medical devices in surgical procedures for uses that were never approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, performed spinal and cervical surgeries when no operations were necessary, entered into schemes to illegally receive kickbacks, amputated limbs when no amputations were called for, replaced joints such as shoulders and knees when no replacements were necessary, and caused at least two deaths,” according to an article posted at RedOrbit.com.

The article raises the question of sleeping watchdog agencies which should have prevented all of this. I agree, but Putnam General Hospital, where Dr. King performed his bad deeds certainly failed its patients and should be held accountable.

Hospital Loss: Where Were Watchdogs?

PUTNAM General Hospital – wracked by the worst malpractice nightmare in West Virginia history, which threatens astronomical lawsuit losses – announced Tuesday that it is closing. The 68-bed clinic’s 300 employees will be paid through September. The hospital may be turned into a doc-in-a-box urgent care center.

This blow to Putnam County apparently stems from the horrifying case of Dr. John King, an osteopathic surgeon who never completed a residency in that specialty, and his physician assistant, who wrote prescriptions but had no credentials of any sort.

More than 100 former patients have sued King and the hospital, alleging they were maimed by needless or botched operations during his seven-month tenure in Putnam County. The state Board of Osteopathy, which is supposed to guard against unfit physicians, took no action against him until after the upheaval erupted.

Evidently, neither the board nor the hospital investigated King’s past before he was licensed in West Virginia and hired by Putnam General at a $420,000 salary in 2002. They never learned that he hadn’t finished his surgery credentials, or that he had faced lawsuits and arrests in other states, or that his aide was unlicensed.

During a 2003 peer review, a medical expert hired by Putnam General testified that the surgeon was “a snake-oil salesman” and “a criminal.”

With the Putnam hospital heading for closure, the looming question is: Why were West Virginia’s licensing authorities unable to prevent this tragedy?

…as long as officialdom doesn’t head off such practitioners, and no better method is created to resolve their outrages, the risk of bankrupted hospitals remains.

One of many lawsuits against Dr. John King alleges that King “operated on fractures that did not exist, used medical devices in surgical procedures for uses that were never approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, performed spinal and cervical surgeries when no operations were necessary, entered into schemes to illegally receive kickbacks, amputated limbs when no amputations were called for, replaced joints such as shoulders and knees when no replacements were necessary, and caused at least two deaths,” according to an article posted at The Charleston Gazette.

The article raises the question of sleeping watchdog agencies which should have prevented all of this. I agree, but Putnam General Hospital, where Dr. King performed his bad deeds certainly failed its patients and should be held accountable.

Hospital Loss: Where Were Watchdogs?

PUTNAM General Hospital – wracked by the worst malpractice nightmare in West Virginia history, which threatens astronomical lawsuit losses – announced Tuesday that it is closing. The 68-bed clinic’s 300 employees will be paid through September. The hospital may be turned into a doc-in-a-box urgent care center.

This blow to Putnam County apparently stems from the horrifying case of Dr. John King, an osteopathic surgeon who never completed a residency in that specialty, and his physician assistant, who wrote prescriptions but had no credentials of any sort.

More than 100 former patients have sued King and the hospital, alleging they were maimed by needless or botched operations during his seven-month tenure in Putnam County. The state Board of Osteopathy, which is supposed to guard against unfit physicians, took no action against him until after the upheaval erupted.

Evidently, neither the board nor the hospital investigated King’s past before he was licensed in West Virginia and hired by Putnam General at a $420,000 salary in 2002. They never learned that he hadn’t finished his surgery credentials, or that he had faced lawsuits and arrests in other states, or that his aide was unlicensed.

During a 2003 peer review, a medical expert hired by Putnam General testified that the surgeon was “a snake-oil salesman” and “a criminal.”

With the Putnam hospital heading for closure, the looming question is: Why were West Virginia’s licensing authorities unable to prevent this tragedy?

…as long as officialdom doesn’t head off such practitioners, and no better method is created to resolve their outrages, the risk of bankrupted hospitals remains.