Pakistani doctor charged with treason for aiding bin Laden raid

Pakistani police guarding the bin Laden compound
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

The doctor who is suspected of helping the CIA target Osama bin Laden will be charged with treason…

“A case of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason is made” against Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the information ministry said, summarizing a commission’s investigation into the death of the al Qaeda leader.

Afridi is accused of helping the CIA use a vaccination campaign to try to collect DNA samples from people who lived in bin Laden’s compound.

The United States “has repeatedly asked” for the release of the Pakistani doctor, a U.S. official said Thursday. The official declined to comment further on the treason charges…

“This was one very small piece of a very large intelligence effort to determine that bin Laden was located at the compound,” a senior U.S. official told CNN over the summer.”People need to put this into some perspective,” the official added. “The vaccination campaign was part of the hunt for the world’s top terrorist, and nothing else. If the United States hadn’t shown this kind of creativity, people would be scratching their heads asking why it hadn’t used all the tools at its disposal to find bin Laden.”

Pakistan demonstrates once again what passes for priorities and standards in that nation.

While the Obama administration trots out the usual diplomatic smoke-and-mirrors to maintain some sort of relationship with a corrupt government the fact remains that they can be trusted as far as I can throw the Aiwan-e-Sadr uphill into a heavy wind left-handed.

Doctor and nurse practitioner charged in overdose deaths

A former Needham doctor and his nurse practitioner caused the overdose deaths of at least six people they knew to be drug-addicted by systematically prescribing them medically unnecessary painkillers in order to make a profit, according to charges handed up in federal court in Boston.

Dr. Joseph P. Zolot, a specialist in nonsurgical orthopedics, and nurse practitioner Lisa M. Pliner were indicted on charges of conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances — including methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl — and six counts each of distribution of controlled substances resulting in deaths. If convicted, they each face a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Law enforcement officials said it is one of the most significant cases of medical misconduct to reach a criminal court anywhere in the country.

“The conduct alleged in today’s indictment is incomprehensible,’’ US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said. “I hope it sends a strong message that the government will aggressively prosecute any medical professional who facilitates the distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs purely for financial gain.’’

Well, not any more incomprehensible than the pill factories masquerading as medical practices in Florida.

The indictment alleges that Zolot and Pliner knew their patients were addicted to drugs, including street drugs such as cocaine, but prescribed medically unnecessary painkillers in exchange for cash or payments from insurance companies. Authorities say patients then overdosed on those drugs, causing their own deaths…

“The deaths alleged by the government in [the] indictments are horrible tragedies; so too is the fact the government has chosen to charge Dr. Zolot with criminal conduct for the manner in which he practiced medicine and treated patients,’’ David Meier [Zolot’s lawyer] said. “His intent was to do good as a doctor. It was never his intent to cause harm, never mind death, to any patient…”

The prescription of painkillers for certain medical conditions is allowed even if the patient is a known addict — but only if the patient and the potential for abuse are monitored, according to standard medical procedures.

In this case, prosecutors said, the duo handed out an extraordinary number of prescriptions in blatant disregard for their patients’ safety, all for a profit.

“A license to practice is not a license to deal, and that is precisely what is alleged in this indictment,’’ said Steve Derr, special agent in charge of the Boston office of the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

RTFA. The details of the deaths in the case are there. I’m really of two minds about the case – not knowing any details, whether the accusations are true or false.

I’ve known physicians who prescribed painkillers for addicts. As the law states, there can be sound medical reasons for doing so. There’s also no shortage of doctors who pick up an easy buck prescribing for doctor-shoppers looking for a quick fix. I will follow the trial.

Computer mouse measures your blood pressure

CalHealth, an Irvine, CA company, has developed a computer mouse with a slide-out sphygmomanometer. The MDMouse is completely powered via its USB connection, and communicates with software installed on the computer to save regular readings for later analysis.

Though initially it seems as a silly product idea [who would say that?], it may effectively increase testing compliance in people who spend a lot of time in front of the computer reading Medgadget. A company spokesman tells us that MDMouse should be coming to market sometime in the next few months…

The application software installed on the user’s PC then utilizes the digital data to create a display of the individual’s blood pressure readings and pulse rate. The software also provides additional functions including recording the data and graphically plotting data over a number of parameters such as three day averages. Communication of the data is also handled by the application software, including sending emails to medical personnel or archiving data.

They’ll find you dead before your monitor. Your cold, dead, fingers clutching your mouse.

Fake doctor jailed for giving breast exams in bars

Cripes! The headline is just about everything you need to know, right?

An Idaho judge on Wednesday set bond at $100,000 for a Boise woman police say posed as a physician and duped at least two other women into having their breasts examined by her at Boise-area nightclubs.

Kristina Ross, 37, remains in Ada County Jail in Boise on two felony counts of practicing medicine without a license…

As part of her ruse, Ross gave the women the telephone number of a real licensed plastic surgeon in Boise, the state capital, authorities said.

Staff at that medical office became alarmed at the number of calls they received from women in recent weeks attempting to confirm appointments or surgeries with a Berlyn Aussieahshowna, according to charging documents.

And, then, there’s this twist to the plot:

The suspect’s gender is unclear. Idaho court records show that Ross was arrested for petty theft in the spring and that the arrest warrant was issued to a Kristoffer Jon Ross.

The Idaho Statesman website reported that Ross has a previous criminal record as a man but identifies herself as a woman and was booked into Ada County Jail as a female…

Court appearance is set for December 1st and I can hardly wait.

Doctor in L.A. = 2nd biggest pill provider in the United States!

A Los Angeles physician who investigators call the second “most prolific provider” of prescription drugs in the country has been convicted of 13 felony counts.

A Superior Court jury deliberated for two days before convicting 68-year-old Carlos Estiandan of unlawfully prescribing controlled substances Monday.

The Drug Enforcement Administration didn’t specify how many prescriptions Estiandan gave out. But it says he was second only to a hospital — Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — in the total number of prescriptions written in 2008…

Authorities say an undercover sheriff’s deputy obtained 12 prescriptions from Estiandan without ever being examined, as part of a three-year investigation.

So, except for some geek who finally looked at the database, no one in charge of medicine or pharmacies in California ever noticed what this drug dealer was about?


Nurse to stand trial for whistleblowing on mediocre Doctor – UPDATED, Acquitted!

It occurred to Anne Mitchell as she was writing the letter that she might lose her job, which is why she chose not to sign it. But it was beyond her conception that she would be indicted and threatened with 10 years in prison for doing what she knew a nurse must: inform state regulators that a doctor at her rural hospital was practicing bad medicine…

But in what may be an unprecedented prosecution, Mitchell is scheduled to stand trial in state court Monday for “misuse of official information,” a third-degree felony in Texas.

Sounds about right for Texas.

The prosecutor, Scott M. Tidwell, said he would show that Mitchell had a history of making “inflammatory” statements about Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. and intended to damage his reputation when she reported him last April to the Texas Medical Board, which licenses and disciplines doctors.

Mitchell counters that as an administrative nurse, she had a professional obligation to protect patients from what she saw as a pattern of improper prescribing and surgical procedures – including a failed skin graft that Arafiles performed in the emergency room, without surgical privileges. He also sutured a rubber tip to a patient’s crushed finger for protection, an unconventional remedy that was later flagged as inappropriate by the Texas Department of State Health Services…

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Roeder’s guilty verdict a victory for all Americans

The jury did the right thing Friday in Wichita: It found Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in the death of abortion doctor George Tiller.

The verdict sends the message loudly and clearly: The pro-life/anti-abortion crowd can’t go around killing doctors who provide legal abortions, then throw themselves on the mercy of the court and claim they were only trying to prevent the deaths of innocent babies.

Roeder should serve the maximum sentence of life in prison (with a chance of parole after 25 years) for the premeditated death of Tiller.

Roeder admitted he bought the gun used to kill Tiller. He admitted he went to Tiller’s church to kill him. And he admitted that he shot Tiller on May 31, 2009.

Case closed.

And another too-rabid, pro-life believer will go to prison, where he belongs.

It took the jury a half-hour to sort out a guilty verdict for this miserable, superstitious criminal.

We all have to continue the day-to-day fight for a rule of law versus the context of holier-than-thou nutballs who presume the whole nation must follow whatever invisible critter they kneel before. Nice to see justice prevail.

Republicans really think this man is Dr. Death?

Before they were Palinized — and turned into those nasty death panels ready to pounce on Grandma (that “goofy stuff,” as he now calls it), Congressman Earl Blumenauer had a good idea: help people prepare for the end of life.

As he wrote in The New York Times last weekend, the proposition was simple: “I found it perverse that Medicare would pay for almost any medical procedure, yet not reimburse doctors for having a thoughtful conversation to prepare patients and families for the delicate, complex and emotionally demanding decisions surrounding the end of life.”

So, when he began work on health care reform, he included a provision that would allow Medicare to cover a voluntary doctor-patient discussion (only once every five years) about things like living wills, power of attorney and end-of-life treatment.

Oh, the horror.

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Doctor Giggles got “floaty” while treating kids in hospital

A doctor inhaled laughing gas for ‘fun’ whilst he was treating children on a hospital A&E ward, a medical tribunal heard today.

Paediatrician Dr Jonathan Chahal, 33, was caught out when he was heard giggling in a resuscitation room by two on-duty nurses, it was claimed.

He then allegedly persuaded several nurses to breathe in the anaesthetic gas Entonox after telling them: ‘It makes me feel floaty.’

The drug has a warning from manufacturers saying people should not use machinery for up to 12 hours after taking it, the General Medical Council was told.

Are children tougher than tractors?

The incidents were said to have occurred in 2007 when Chahal, a senior house, officer was working as a locum at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in the children’s accidental and emergency ward. Counsel for the GMC…told the Manchester hearing how nurses Christine Timmons and Siobhan Fitzgerald were on duty at 2pm on June 27 when they went into the resuscitation room and spotted Chahal taking Entonox…

‘They were invited by Dr Chahal to sample the Entonox…

On July 5 nurses Briony Routledge and Amanda Howe were on duty at the Children’s A&E department when they spotted Chahal using Entonox consistently throughout the night.

Mr Sephton added: ‘He offered it to them and also offered it to a student nurse Helen Aspinall – two of them accepted Doctor Chahal’s offer…’

The doctor denies his fitness to practise was impaired.

Stick to your guns, doc. That is – if you can find them, figure out which end makes the big noise?

Police search for Michael Jackson’s drug doctor

Have you seen this man?
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A doctor who has apparently gone missing after treating Michael Jackson before his sudden death is being sought by the Los Angeles police and coroner’s office.

The doctor’s car, which was left outside Jackson’s rented mansion in Bel Air, has been impounded. A police spokesman said they wanted to talk to Dr Conrad Murray, a cardiologist who practises in California, Nevada and Texas, because he had not signed a death certificate, as is normal procedure. It was reported last night that police were in contact with Murray.

Speculation was mounting that the star’s death may be linked to his longstanding use of painkillers. Family friends have confirmed he was taking drugs to help him deal with the stress of preparing for his series of London concerts.

Last night the Los Angeles coroner said initial examination of the body indicated “no foul play or external trauma”. He said a ruling on the cause of death would be deferred for detailed toxicology and neuropathology tests, which could take between four and six weeks…

Charlie Beck said the doctor’s car was seized because it may contain drugs or other evidence. Beck said officers had spoken to the doctor immediately after Jackson’s death but wanted to carry out “an extensive follow-up interview”…

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