TUCSON, Ariz., Sept. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is being released by Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS):
Highly respected oncologist Parvez Dara, M.D., has had his license suspended for more than 39 months by the state of New Jersey because hepatitis B was allegedly transmitted in his office.
He cannot earn his livelihood, and his patients suddenly lost their doctor. He was not even allowed to assist them in transferring their care.
A few of his patients—28 out of 1,405 or 2%—were found to carry hepatitis B virus (HBV). Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy often have HBV. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, the rate is 9.2%, and at M.D. Anderson it is 10%.
Did Dr. Dara’s patients catch HBV in his office? There is no evidence that they did so. With the immunosuppression of chemotherapy, latent infections from long ago can be reactivated. The patients all had different strains of the virus.
Was Dr. Dara a disreputable, fly-by-night doctor? He had been in practice for 34 years, had earned board certification in internal medicine and medical oncology, and had been chosen to be chief of medicine and chief of staff at his hospital. He cared so much about his patients that he called in twice a day while on vacation even though he had physician coverage.
That’s how he learned that the department of health had invaded his office with ten investigators during his absence.
The “evidence” included a fragment of pretzel and a Tums wrapper found under a chair. After an exhaustive 6-month hearing, the judge wrote: “I conclude that the complainant has failed to prove that Dara engaged in any violation of standards that resulted in any of his patients acquiring HBV.”
The science of HBV, the allegations against Dr. Dara, and the Judge’s conclusions are described in an article in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. www.jpands.org/vol17no3/dara.pdf
The Board of Medicine arbitrarily rejected the Judge’s decision and refused to restore Dr. Dara’s license. Over the past several years, the Board had offered a settlement, always contingent on Dr. Dara’s “admitting” that his office had caused the problem.
During the process, Dr. Dara was vilified and demonized. Television news trucks parked outside his office for four days, as reporters tried to interview patients entering or leaving the office.
An appeal of the Board’s action is pending in court.
“Physicians are increasingly being blamed for their patients’ medical problems as well as failures in the system,” states Jane Orient, M.D., managing editor of the Journal. “Decades of study and dedicated service can be negated through processes in which doctors have very limited ability to defend themselves.”
The Journal is an official publication of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, (www.aapsonline.org) which was founded in 1943 to defend the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship.