Home E-Weekly February 27, 2018

News & Notes

Published: February 27, 2018

  • Surgeon cleared of strangling nurse A New York district court judge has dropped criminal charges against New York bariatric surgeon Venkatesh Sasthakonar, MD, who was accused of strangling a nurse with a drawstring from his sweatshirt. The judge dismissed the case after witness interviews and surveillance video did not provide enough evidence that a crime had occurred.
  • Ophthalmologist gets 17 years in prison for Medicare fraud Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, MD, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for falsely diagnosing and treating dozens of elderly patients for wet macular degeneration in what the judge called, "one of the biggest Medicare fraud cases in the nation." Prosecutors say Dr. Melgen, 63, stole $73 million from Medicare by persuading elderly patients to undergo painful eye procedures that they didn't need. A judge also ordered Dr. Melgen to pay $42.6 million in restitution to Medicare. If his name sounds familiar, it's likely because Dr. Melgen was Sen. Bob Menendez's co-defendant on separate bribery charges.
  • Standardized protocols for complex surgeries lead to better outcomes A written, standardized protocol helped a safety-net hospital in Florida perform a highly complex surgery with fewer complications and shorter hospital stays than the national average. The University of Florida Health in Jacksonville's protocol details everything necessary to perform an esophagectomy, from planning and scheduling of the operation to the post-op follow-up. Of the 78 esophagectomies performed over 3.5 years, the center had a an average hospital stay almost 3 days shorter than the national average and a complication rate of 16.7% compared to 33.3% nationally.
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