As we do every once in a while, Law Med has compiled an abbreviated list of just some of the physicians arrested over only the past few weeks for some pretty bad behavior. As usual, sex and drugs are the common themes…not at our choosing, but rather the reality of why physicians are most often placed in handcuffs.
Clarence, NY - Dr. Dharam Paul Garg, 62, faces a felony charge of committing a criminal sexual act and a misdemeanor count of sexual abuse. Garg has admitted in a signed statement that he had sexual relations with the patient over the past two years, according to the state Attorney General’s Office. On Nov. 9th a 49-year-old female patient recorded a sexual act performed on her during a medical appointment in his Depew office. She provided authorities with a video recording of the incident taken with her cellphone. While police have not revealed exactly what is seen on the video, it clearly must show a sexual act taking place without the consent of the patient. Consensual sex with a patient is clearly unethical and subjects the health care professional to sanctions against their license, but it is not a crime, much less a felony.
After the woman provided the recording to authorities, investigators with the state Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, state Department of Health Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and Depew police questioned and arrested Garg, who specializes in internal medicine. Garg was arraigned Friday before Depew Village Justice Gordon N. Willis, who set bail at $50,000 cash and $150,000 bond. There are plenty of questions raised by this arrest. Was the patient drugged? How could this have gone on for two years? Don’t worry, Law Med will follow the case for you.
Youngstown, NY – Dr. Daniel Gillick, 62, an emergency room physician, was charged with misdemeanor possession of crack cocaine on Nov. 25th. Gillick’s status as an emergency room doctor caused concern to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. and Dale M. Kasprzyk, agent in charge of the regional DEA office. They put the case on a fast track after learning earlier last month that Gillick was allegedly involved in heavy illegal drug use while also treating patients in the emergency rooms of hospitals in Central and Western New York. “This investigation is continuing, and we are looking into some other concerns, including [Gillick's] issuing of prescriptions. We’ll be talking to some of his patients, the state Health Department and his employers,” Kasprzyk said.
At his Nov. 26th arraignment Gillick told U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott that he makes “good money … $90 to $100 an hour” working in emergency rooms for a Rochester-based company called Delphi Emergency Physician Services. Looking haggard and exhausted, Gillick appeared in court before Scott for about 20 minutes. His co-defendant, Christine Guilfoyle, 27, who has been living with Gillick, also appeared in court to face charges filed by prosecutor Timothy C. Lynch. According to Lynch, Gillick has admitted to federal agents that he is a drug abuser, and Guilfoyle has admitted that she is severely addicted to drugs.
While he makes “good money” as an emergency doctor, Gillick filed for bankruptcy about 18 months ago, and he said the home where he lives is owned by a bank, which foreclosed on him. Scott said he would allow Gillick to be released after he posts a $5,000 bond. “I think that you think I have money that’s growing on trees,” Gillick told the judge. “I’ve got about $5,000 to $6,000 to my name.”
When U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided his Niagara County NY home they found a disheveled residence littered with needles, crack pipes and other signs of drug abuse. They also found Gillick getting ready to torch up a crack cocaine pipe with his younger female companion.
Wellesley, MA- Dr. Kristin Lynes Howard, 56, an emergency room physician, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Dedham District Court Nov. 13, after her Nov. 9th arrest for charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. Howard crashed her vehicle into a grocery store van, hit a tree, smashed into a fence on the store’s property, became air born and drove across the lanes of a busy highway and struck another car pushing it into a truck, all in spectacular style caught on video. She was on her way to work.
Roane County, WV - Dr. Kenneth Seen, 51, physician and pastor, has been charged with the battery of a dementia patient he was caring for and the battery of a 14 y/o boy who attends the church where he is a pastor. State Police say Seen was caring for a 77-year-old man who had dementia, Parkinson’s, and a broken hip when he stuck his tongue in the man’s mouth. The patient promptly bit off a significant portion of Seen’s tongue. According to State Police Sgt. Fred Hammack, the only way Seen’s tongue could have been bitten is if Seen had stuck his tongue in there in the first place.
In a separate complaint filed by the parent of a 14 y/o boy who attends Seen’s Christian Society of Roane County, Seen was accused of repeatedly striking a child in the back after the child did not comply with something Seen asked him to do. He has been charged with child abuse with risk or injury.
In an example of “the apple does not fall far from the tree”, Dr. Seen’s sons were sentenced earlier this year on charges of possessing child pornography. 25-year-old Adam K. Seen, a former computer technician for Roane County schools, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for possession of child pornography and his brother, 23-year-old Jacob Seen, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years on the same charge. Both men admitted that on December 3, 2009, they possessed more than 600 images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexual conduct.
Dr. Seen’s medical license has been suspended by the state.
Roachdale, IN - Dr. Ray D. Howell, 57, was booked into the Putnam County Jail on 15 Class D felony counts, 12 involving “recklessly, knowingly or intentionally” distributing or dispensing a controlled substance. on October 15th. At least three of those counts allege that the excessive amounts of controlled substances Howell prescribed were ostensibly written “to facilitate sexual encounters.”
Nine patients, all female, were interviewed by investigators, and six reported unwanted sexual advances or actual sexual acts allegedly occurring with Dr. Howell as a result of their visits to his office. Although no specific charges have been filed involving the deaths of any patients treated by Dr. Howell, four occasions in which patients died soon after receiving controlled substances from the doctor were detailed in the probable cause affidavit. Three of those involved Fayette County patients, while the fourth was a Franklin County patient who died of an overdose of hydrocodone.
The investigation began in 2009 after pharmacists from Connersville, Danville and Crawfordsville expressed concern that Dr. Howell was writing prescriptions for “unusually large quantities of controlled substances,” the probable cause affidavit filed in Putnam Circuit Court notes.
Now, lest we begin to think that physicians are the bad guys in all interactions with law enforcement, here is a video, albeit from Canada, which shows two police officers violently accosting an emergency room physician in his ER for not divulging information protected by physician-patient confidentiality laws. He is told he is under arrest until some officers who are not out of their minds arrive on the scene to rescue him.
, kenneth seens
, Dr. Ray D. Howell