The VA hospital in Wichita, Kansas is seeking to terminate a urologist on its staff after it became aware through a news story in a local newspaper in September 2019 that the 44-year-old urologist was reportedly disciplined by the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts (“Board”) for allegedly harming patients while performing robot-assisted surgeries that were beyond his abilities in 2013.
The Board focused on three patients allegedly harmed by the urologist in 2013, including a 69-year-old woman who died of a massive infection two months after the urologist punctured her bladder while obtaining biopsies and failed to repair the punctures. The woman’s husband has stated, “My wife went in for a bladder biopsy. He poked two holes in her bladder, and then he said ‘we’re just going to let it heal naturally.’ Two months to the day after she had that biopsy, she died from four major infections. … Heal naturally? All that poison went into her abdominal cavity.” The two other cases involved two men, ages 68 and 71, who sustained serious complications following robotic prostate surgeries that took three times longer than they should have.
The Board reportedly stated that the urologist “repeatedly performed robot-assisted surgeries far outside of his abilities resulting in operations three times longer than a member of Respondent’s profession would take under the same circumstances … Respondent’s duration, performance, and judgment (patient selection and operative approach) failed to use the degree of skill and learning ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by members of his profession and caused injury.”
The urologist was reportedly hired by the VA medical center in Wichita, Kansas in 2014 and paid in excess of $300,000 per year, despite the urologist having been placed on the National Practitioner Data Bank’s listing of physicians with disciplinary actions involving misconduct or substandard care in April 2014.
The urologist’s Missouri medical license is apparently current and the website shows no disciplinary actions against the urologist. Source
The United States Government Accountability Office reported in February 2019: “GAO found that Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities responded in various ways to adverse-action information from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for the 57 providers reviewed, and in some cases overlooked or were not aware of adverse action … VHA facilities did not consistently adhere to policies regarding providers with adverse actions. Among other issues, GAO found that some facility officials were not aware of VHA employment policies. Specifically, GAO found that officials in at least five facilities who were involved in verifying providers’ credentials and hiring them were unaware of the policy regarding hiring a provider whose license has been revoked or surrendered for professional misconduct or incompetence, or for providing substandard care. As a result, these five VHA facilities hired or retained some providers who were ineligible … The presence of an NPDB report does not automatically disqualify a provider from working at VHA. Each VHA facility has broad discretion in hiring providers. Nevertheless, VHA facility medical staff leadership is required to review the information referenced in the report—such as state licensing-board documents—to determine the provider’s ability to practice, and to document its review.”
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