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Friday, July 22, 2005

The Ills of Capitalism

Today, yet another sign of the tolls that capitalism has had on medicine. Not only is it costing the lives and liberty of the poor, but its effects have reached those with the means to purchase healthcare. Dr. G. Steven Kooshian, 54 was indicted by a federal grand jury. His crime was under-dosing his patients with HIV/AIDS and charging their insurance companies the full price for the medications and the treatments.

It is unsure whether anyone died as a direct result of his actions - an investigation on that matter is still pending. But, the grand jury did indict him on conspiracy and fraud. His former technitian, Virgil Opinion, while still guilty of the crimes he committed himself, had the decency to blow the whistle on Dr. Kooshian.

Dr. Kooshian was fined and put on court probation in the past for prescribing steroids to people that were not his patients. Clearly, this man has been bit by the need for greed. He was so interested in making an extra buck that he prescribed steroids to individuals without remorse. He did make a statement to the medical board that he was, "ashamed and humiliated by the realization of his unprofessional conduct.''

Wait - it took a court and medical board review to make him realize that his conduct in that matter was unprofessional? He did not realize that cash for scripts is a dangerous and destructive practice? Furthermore, if he was on court probation and medical board probation, why was he not being more closely monitored?

When others commit non-violent crimes (like the sale or possession of drugs) they are very closely monitored by the authorities. But, this "doctor" is out putting people's lives at risk and he gets a slap on the wrist so that he is able to do it all over again with higher stakes? This is unacceptable.

Not only was his practice tainted, but the FDA had him certified as a Clinical Investigator. Scary to think of the clinical trials he might have reported back on. Perhaps he tainted that information as well.

Clearly this is yet another sign that the practice of medicine has been tainted. Stories like this appear at an alarming rate. How can medicine run like a business? The object of business is to make as much money with as little cost. Should it be acceptable to do the right thing, even if that means that you will not make as big of a profit? Medicine should not be for sale.


At Fri Jul 22, 11:20:00 PM GMT+10, Blogger Matty the Damned said...

Curiously Ronnie, we have had a scandal over here involving a doctor. This case is rather different as it involves gross malpractice.

Jayant Patel was retained as a surgeon in Bundaberg Queensland. Bundaberg is a regional centre and in Australia we have great difficulties in finding doctors to take positions in regional and rural areas - particularly specialists. As a result Australian health services often take on overseas trained doctors on a temporary basis.

Patel had been trained India but had worked in the US. He had been convicted of malpractice in several US states and was well known as a hack and butcher.

He fled the US and took the position in Queensland. The Medical Tribunal of Queensland registered Patel without checking his references. It turned out that by merely entering his name into Google, his convictions in the US would have been revealed.

His appalling standards of practice have resulted in the deaths of more than 80 people in Queensland. Many others suffered enormous injury at his hands. He is now the subject of a Commission of Inquiry.

Before the issue became public, Patel fled back to the US. It remains to be seen if he will he extradited.



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